On Monday, Congressman Frank Pallone unveiled new legislation to address the youth e-cigarette crisis in the country.
The Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act of 2019 includes the following measures:
- Raising the minimum age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21
- Prohibiting the sale of flavored tobacco products
- Banning the marketing of e-cigarettes to young people
- Ending online sales of tobacco products
New Jersey has already seen 20 confirmed cases of vaping-related lung injuries and one death, with 35 more cases under investigation. The median age of those effected is 20 years.
Dorian Fuhrman of the national grassroots organization Parents Against Vaping e-Cigarettes says flavored e-cigarettes are luring in children, who subsequently get addicted to the nicotine. She cited a statistic that 5 million children vape on a regular basis nationally.
“It’s trying not to make the kids become the target,” said Pallone.
But Boston University Professor Michael Siegel says a ban on e-cigarette flavors will have a negative impact on ex-smokers, claiming that e-cigarette products are twice as successful as nicotine patches in getting people to quit smoking cigarettes. He suggests regulating the nicotine content as a way to keep the products available to adults, while reducing youth use.
“These two-and-a-half-million ex-smokers, who have quit using e-cigarettes, are basically going to be forced back to smoking,” said Siegel.
Pallone says in addition to introducing the bill, he has sent letters to top e-cigarette companies requesting research they’ve done to help clarify the public health impacts of the products.