Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN-02) recently sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urging her to “immediately consider” the Reversing Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act, a bill that would ban all vaping flavors.
Her letter was co-signed by 13 of her House colleagues and argues that the “surge in youth use has been driven by flavors.”
“The tobacco industry has a long history of targeting youth with flavored products. E-cigarettes come in over 15,000 flavors, including mint and mango. Flavors attract children and mask any unpleasant harshness. The vast majority of kids report that they use e-cigarettes ‘because they come in flavors I like,’” states the letter.
Craig’s office said in a press release that the U.S. is “experiencing the highest youth usage of tobacco products in 20 years” and saw 5.3 million youth e-cigarette users in 2019.
“The need for action by the House has become even more urgent now that the administration has backtracked on the plan that Secretary Azar announced in September to remove flavored e-cigarettes, including mint and menthol, from the market,” the letter continues. “The administration’s new plan will leave a wide array of flavored e-cigarettes on the market, despite the evidence that flavors make these addictive products more appealing to youth. Also, the new law raising the tobacco sale age to 21, while a good step, is not expected to have significant short-term impact and is not a sufficient response to the youth tobacco epidemic that continues to rage.”
Craig’s home state of Minnesota filed a lawsuit against JUUL Labs in December, accusing the vaping giant of “youth-oriented marketing.”
“My job is to protect Minnesotans from deceptive, fraudulent, and unlawful practices, and to protect their health and safety. It’s especially important for me to protect our young folks from deception and harm. I’m bringing a lawsuit against JUUL today because it has created a public nuisance that is centered around deceiving, addicting, and harming our young people,” Attorney General Keith Ellison said when announcing the lawsuit.
Craig said the Reversing Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act is supported by more than 60 organizations, including the American Lung Association, the American Heart Association, and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.
The letter concludes by urging Speaker Pelosi to schedule a vote on the bill “early this year.”
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