Lawmakers Introduce Legislation to Address Youth E-Cigarette Epidemic
Washington, D.C. – April 5, 2019 – Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) introduced legislation today that would task the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop a comprehensive strategy to reduce the skyrocketing rates of tobacco product use among youth. The Preventing Opportunities for Teen E-Cigarette and Tobacco Addiction (PROTECT) Act would allocate $100 million to CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health (OSH) to research youth use of e-cigarettes, educate youth about the harmful effects of all tobacco products and provide funds to state and local governments, as well as non-government organizations, to reduce and prevent youth uptake of tobacco products.
The introduction of the PROTECT Act comes amid a public health crisis that has resulted from surging rates of youth use of tobacco products, a trend primarily driven by access to and use of flavored e-cigarettes. Data released last year showed a 78% spike in youth usage rates of e-cigarettes from 2017 to 2018.
The following is a statement from Lisa Lacasse, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN):
“The alarming upward trend in youth use of tobacco products, which we know is substantially driven by access to flavored e-cigarettes, is an issue that must be addressed. We applaud Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz and Senator Blumenthal for introducing the PROTECT Act, legislation that will empower the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Office on Smoking and Health to research and develop an effective plan to educate youth about the dangers of all tobacco products.
“We urge Congress to move swiftly to pass this legislation. Stopping the tobacco industry from hooking another generation of Americans on their deadly products should be a top priority for lawmakers and ACS CAN looks forward to working in support of this legislation. We will also continue to press the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to exercise its full statutory authority over all tobacco products, especially those attracting youth use, including e-cigarettes, cigars, and menthol cigarettes.”