REP LIEU URGES PRESIDENT TRUMP TO FOLLOW THROUGH WITH FLAVORED E-CIGARETTE BAN
WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-Los Angeles County) joined fellow members of the Congressional Caucus to End the Youth Vaping Epidemic in sending a letter to President Trump encouraging him to remain committed to his original proposal to ban flavored e-cigarettes. Multiple press reports have detailed the possibility of the President reversing his pledge to remove all flavors from the market pending review by the FDA. Members of Congress, public health advocates and medical professionals support the removal of flavored e-cigarettes from the market.
In the letter, Mr. Lieu and his fellow Members of Congress write:
- Over two months ago, you, along with Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar and former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Acting Commissioner Ned Sharpless, made an encouraging announcement that your administration would be issuing a compliance policy designed to clear the market of all flavored e-cigarettes, including mint and menthol flavors.
- With nearly 28% of American high schoolers and 5% of middle schoolers vaping, this announcement was an important step in the right direction in order to protect our children and end this public health crisis. Unfortunately, this guidance has yet to be finalized. This is particularly concerning because nicotine exposure can harm adolescent brain development, and using nicotine during adolescence can increase the risk of future addiction to cigarettes and other drugs.
- Our children should not be used as guinea pigs by the tobacco industry. As members of the Congressional Caucus to End the Youth Vaping Epidemic and elected officials concerned about youth health and safety, we have made it a priority to tackle the most pressing public health needs facing our country. We have heard from countless parents, teachers, and health professionals in our districts who are concerned about skyrocketing youth e-cigarette use.
- We urge you to finalize the removal of all flavors from the market pending product reviews by FDA in a complete and expedited fashion. Importantly, any ban on flavored e-cigarettes must include mint and menthol, which have been proven popular with youth, and apply to all retailers. In fact, former FDA Acting Commissioner Sharpless stated this year that the FDA “must act swiftly against flavored e-cigarette products that are especially attractive to children.” Further, Dr. Anne Schuchat, Principal Deputy Director of the CDC, testified before the House Oversight Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy that for the flavor ban to be effective mint and menthol must be included. Finally, as members of the bipartisan caucus to combat youth vaping, we request our inclusion in future conversations regarding this compliance policy.
- The meteoric rise in youth vaping is a public health crisis threatening the health and safety of American youth. In order to end it, we need a bold, bipartisan solution such as a comprehensive e-cigarette flavor ban in accordance to your original promise on September 11, 2019. We hope you will take this request into consideration and thank you for your time.
Congressman Lieu’s previous work on fighting the vaping epidemic:
- In October 2019, Congressman Lieu voted in favor of H.R. 3942, the Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act, during the House Judiciary Committee’s mark-up of the bill and again when it passed the House of Representatives that same month.
- In November 2019, Congressman Lieu joined a group of 12 Members of Congress in sending a letter to President Trump urging him to follow through on banning flavored e-cigarettes from the marketplace. The letter draws from a CDC report claiming that flavored e-cigarette products have directly contributed to the rise in popularity of e-cigarettes amongst children and young adults.
- Congressman Lieu has co-sponsored the following bills that address the vaping epidemic:
- H.R. 4249, the Stop Vaping Ads Act
- H.R. 4019, the Smoke-Free Schools Act
- H.R. 2339, the Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act of 2019
- H.R. 2411, the Tobacco to 21 Act
- H.R. 1498, the Stopping Appealing flavors in E-Cigarettes (SAFE) Kids Act
- H.R. 2111, the Preventing Opportunities for Teen E-Cigarette and Tobacco Addiction (PROTECT) Act
- Congressman Lieu is a member of the Congressional Caucus to End the Youth Vaping Epidemic, the Bipartisan Congressional Cancer Prevention Caucus, the Congressional Childhood Cancer Caucus, the Congressional Caucus on Deadliest Cancers, and the Congressional Lung Cancer Caucus.