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New Data Shows Urgent Need for New York to Act to Protect Kids from E-cigarettes As FDA Announces Plans to Move Forward with Ending the Sale of Menthol Cigarettes and Flavored Cigars

American Lung Association Urges Governor Cuomo and the NYS Legislature to Push Forward to Address Youth E-cigarette ‘Epidemic’

(November 15, 2018) - ALBANY, N.Y.

For more information please contact:

Jennifer Solomon
[email protected]
(516) 680-8927

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it intends take a historic step forward in reducing the death and disease caused by tobacco use in our nation. The agency announced a multipronged approach on tobacco: its intent to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, while also implementing restrictions on e-cigarette sales in certain locations. However, FDA’s response to protecting youth from e-cigarettes will not be sufficient in light of the startling new data released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on skyrocketing youth e-cigarette use.  The American Lung Association in New York encourages Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature to address this epidemic by enacting a suite of tobacco control measures to reduce and prevent youth e-cigarette use.

“With today’s announcement, the FDA is taking an important step forward in the effort in reducing tobacco use and protecting the nation’s health,” said Michael Seilback, American Lung Association, National Assistant Vice President. “However, this effort stands in the shadow of a new report showing skyrocketing use of e-cigarettes by kids. The American Lung Association calls on Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature to take swift action to protect kids from this e-cigarette epidemic and a lifetime of nicotine addiction by enacting life-saving initiatives including increasing funding to the state’s Tobacco Control Program, reissuing and enacting regulations to prevent the sale of flavored tobacco products in New York, and passing statewide legislation to raise the legal sales age of tobacco products to 21 years old”

The data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed youth use of e-cigarettes has skyrocketed, with a 78 percent increase in high school students’ use of e-cigarettes since last year – meaning that one in five high school students are using e-cigarettes. It also shows a nearly 50 percent increase in the use of e-cigarettes by middle-school students since 2017. While reducing youth access to e-cigarettes is an important step, the Lung Association continues to urge the FDA to use its full authority to protect kids, including ending the sales of all flavored tobacco products including all flavored e-cigarettes from the marketplace. And in the meantime, the Lung Association is calling on states including New York to take action now.

Last week, New York State proposed and then pulled draft regulations which would have prevented the sale of flavored e-cigarettes in New York State. The Lung Association is calling on the regulations to be strengthened and rereleased immediately.  The State has also seen widespread adoption of Tobacco 21 laws at the local level, with over 75% of New Yorkers now living in municipalities that require customers be at least 21 years of age to purchase tobacco products. Statewide Tobacco 21 legislation has been introduced in the New York State Assembly and Senate. The Lung Association is calling on leaders to prioritize its passage so that all New York would join the six other states and over 350 municipalities that have passed Tobacco 21 laws. Lastly, New York State’s tobacco control program is funded at $39 million, considerably below the over $200 million per year that the CDC recommends New York spend.  The Lung Association and our health partners have called on the program to be funded at $52 million, which would be 25 percent of the CDC recommendation and would assist in educating students, parents and others about the dangers of tobacco.

For media interested in speaking with an expert about lung health, tobacco use and tobacco policies, contact the American Lung Association at [email protected] or 516-680-8927 and to learn more about e-cigarettes visit Lung.org/ecigs.

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About the American Lung Association

The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.

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