According to the FDA and the CDC, e-cigarette use rose by 78% in high school students and 48% in middle school students between 2017 and 2018. What’s more, more than half of children who smoke traditional cigarettes (and seven out of 10 African-American children) choose menthol brands.
Most experts agree child-friendly flavors like “Red Hot Cinnamon” and “Tropical Twist” are playing a major role in enticing these children and teens to smoke. New legislation introduced into Congress by Reps. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Donna Shalala (D-FL) would put the brakes on that by banning the use of flavors in both e-cigarettes and traditional cigarettes alike.
Rep. Pallone stressed the urgency of the situation in a press release.
“We cannot afford to wait — we are on the cusp of losing an entirely new generation to a lifetime of nicotine addiction,” Rep. Pallone said.
How do these products lure children in? The images shown above tell the story —
In addition to banning flavors in tobacco products, the “Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act” of 2019 would —
- Prohibit the sale of tobacco products to anyone under 21 nationwide.
- Prohibit online sales of tobacco products.
- Extend advertising restrictions that currently apply to cigarettes and smokeless tobacco to other tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. These include prohibitions on brand-name sponsorships of sports, music, or other events and distribution of non-tobacco items (such as shirts and hats) with tobacco brand names.
- Require the FDA to issue a final rule to implement graphic health warnings on cigarette packs and advertising, as required by the 2009 Tobacco Control Act.
“As HHS Secretary during the Clinton Administration, we made great strides in holding tobacco companies accountable for marketing their products to children, and we reduced the number of people who smoked cigarettes,” said Rep. Shalala. “But now, the use of e-cigarettes, particularly by children, is beginning to undo years of progress we have made. Our bill, ‘The Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act,’ takes concrete steps to limit access and the appeal of tobacco products to people under 21.”