Washington, D.C., November 19, 2019 — The American Heart Association released the following statement following the House Energy and Commerce mark-up and approval of H.R. 2339, the Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act of 2019:
“We are pleased the Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act passed through the Energy and Commerce Committee today. In addition to raising the minimum legal sales age of tobacco to 21, this bill takes essential steps to restrict marketing and remove flavored products from the market. The tobacco industry has a long history of predatory marketing to youth, a practice that has become an even greater threat with e-cigarettes being introduced in thousands of flavors. Flavored tobacco is what causes most youth tobacco users to begin the habit, and flavors including fruit, mint, menthol and candy have driven the alarming rise of e-cigarette use among kids in this country.
However, we are disappointed the bill was weakened by an amendment to exempt certain cigars from some FDA regulation and the bill’s online sales prohibitions. All cigars pose health risks and should be subject to FDA premarket review. By allowing certain cigars to be sold online, they may be easily accessible and attractive to youth. We supported the bill as introduced and oppose the inclusion of this amendment.
“Our nation is facing a growing crisis of tobacco use and nicotine addiction among youth. With new CDC data reporting that 5 million kids now use e-cigarettes – more than twice as many as just two years ago – we cannot afford further delay. We are grateful to Chairman Pallone for his leadership and we look forward to continuing work with the Chairman and other lawmakers to strengthen this legislation to protect public health.”
About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a leading force for a world of longer, healthier lives. With nearly a century of lifesaving work, the Dallas-based association is dedicated to ensuring equitable health for all. We are a trustworthy source empowering people to improve their heart health, brain health and well-being. We collaborate with numerous organizations and millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, advocate for stronger public health policies and share lifesaving resources and information. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.
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