Senate legislation would reverse youth tobacco epidemic

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 9, 2020 — Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association, the world’s leading voluntary organization focused on heart and brain health, released the following statement today following Senate introduction of the Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act:

“This bill squarely addresses the rising epidemic of youth tobacco use that is putting millions of our nation’s kids at risk for nicotine addiction. The bill’s comprehensive approach would pull all flavored tobacco products, including menthol, from the market within a year and require e-cigarette companies to pull all flavored products without pre-market authorization from the Food and Drug Administration from the market within 30 days. The bill also would prohibit tobacco companies from advertising their products to individuals under age 21 and implement strong restrictions on the marketing of e-cigarettes.

“This bill is necessary in part because the Trump administration’s recent policy, which allows menthol e-cigarettes, flavored e-liquids used in open tank systems and disposable e-cigarettes to remain on the market, falls well short of what is necessary to address this growing epidemic.

“The tobacco industry’s long history of predatory marketing to youth has produced a public health crisis resulting in more than 5 million teens using e-cigarettes. This bill takes essential steps to achieving the goal of ending tobacco use and nicotine addiction in this country.

“We are grateful to Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Jack Reed (D-RI) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) for introducing the Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act and for their bold action to address the e-cigarette epidemic in our nation. We also thank Representatives Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Donna Shalala (D-FL) for introducing similar legislation last year that was approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

“We urge swift passage of this important bill and stand firm against any attempts by the tobacco industry to weaken the bill’s intent.”

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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.orgFacebookTwitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

For Media Inquiries:
Suniti Sarah Bal: 916-390-1860; suniti.bal@heart.org
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