GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS UPDATE
On Feb. 28, 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Protecting American Lungs and Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act (H.R. 2339) by a vote of 213-195. Sponsored by Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) who serves as the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the bill prohibits all flavored tobacco products (including menthol). Additional provisions address non-face-to-face sales, limiting marketing and advertising, and providing additional resources to the Food and Drug Administration.
The passage of the legislation comes on the heels of a flurry of activity at the federal and state level to address the youth vaping epidemic that is driven by the availability of flavored products. In December 2019, President Trump signed a federal law banning the sale of tobacco products and e-cigarettes to anyone under 21. In addition, on January 2, 2020, the Trump Administration announced a partial ban on flavored e-cigarettes that excluded some e-cigarette products as well as menthol and tobacco flavored products.
Many state legislatures are also considering legislation to curb youth use of e-cigarettes. Several states have introduced their own state-level Tobacco 21 legislation that updates existing state laws and ensures that their state statutes will be consistent with the enforcement of the federal Tobacco 21 law. Some states are taking the opportunity to introduce or amend tobacco licensure and penalties for selling to underage individuals. Other state-level legislation includes banning all flavored e-cigarettes, providing additional education in school health programs about the dangers of e-cigarettes, including e-cigarettes in existing smoke-free laws, and taxing e-cigarette products.
To learn more about state legislation, check out NACDD’s State Legislative Tracker.