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Pingree Votes to Ban Flavored Tobacco, Hold E-Cigarette Manufacturers Accountable For Youth Vaping Crisis

Washington, February 28, 2020

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) today joined her colleagues in passing legislation to address the ongoing youth vaping crisis. H.R. 2339, The Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act, of which Pingree is a cosponsor, passed the House 213-195.

“Teen smoking rates have been dropping nationwide for years thanks to investment in public health programs -- but the spike in e-cigarette use among youth threatens to erase our hard-won progress and puts the lifelong health and safety of our kids in serious jeopardy,” said Pingree. “Many kids who try vaping would never think to smoke a cigarette and many don’t even know that there is nicotine in vapes. I was proud to vote for H.R. 2339 to ban all flavored tobacco, hold Big Tobacco accountable, and protect the health of our kids.”

H.R. 2339 will prohibit the manufacturing and sale of all flavored tobacco; extend the user fee collection for nicotine to e-cigarette products; and increase civil penalties for sale and distribution violations of tobacco products. The bill also holds e-cigarette manufacturers to the same standards for advertising and sales as traditional tobacco products and prohibits marketing to individuals under 21, and funds increased public awareness and education campaigns for tobacco prevention and cessation.

The Trump administration announced in September 2019 their inclination to ban all flavored e-cigarettes except for tobacco. However in January 2020, the Administration proposed a partial flavor ban, keeping both tobacco and menthol flavored pods available and permitting continued retail sales of open tank system liquid nicotine in any flavor—including fruit, mint, and candy, which encompass the large majority of pods consumed by youth users. 

The Maine Center for Disease Control recently released data showing that 28.7% of Maine high school students report currently using e-cigarettes (at least one time in the past 30 days), an increase from 15.3% in 2017. The increase aligns with the most recent data from the National Youth Tobacco Survey, which show that 27.5% of high school students throughout the United States report having used e-cigarettes within the past 30 days, an increase from 11.7% in 2017.

Pingree is a member of the House Appropriations Committee, where she successfully advocated for $230 million—a $20 million increase in funding—for the Centers for Disease Control to address tobacco and e-cigarette use in Fiscal Year 2020. She also spoke against the Trump administration’s reversal on banning all e-cigarette flavors in November.

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