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American Lung Association Responds to New E-Cigarette Flavor Approach

Statement of American Lung Association President and CEO Harold Wimmer in response to new federal guidance on flavored e-cigarette products in effect today:

“Facing a youth e-cigarette epidemic, parents, schools, health groups and communities are looking for solutions to save kids from a lifetime of addiction. Eliminating e-cigarette flavors is a critical tool to prevent youth vaping as kids primarily begin vaping with flavored e-cigarettes. This makes today’s action by the Trump Administration a critical loss in our efforts to turn the tide against youth vaping. Today’s action prioritizes the tobacco industry over public health, and is riddled with loopholes that will keep the myriad of Puff Bar flavors, menthol-flavored Juul, and thousands of flavors of e-liquids sold in vape shops and other retail outlets on the market. E-cigarette flavors sold at vape shops are particularly concerning as there are thousands of flavors available, and a 2019 JAMA Pediatrics study found that 45% of vape shops in California sold e-cigarettes to minors.

“Several media stories in the past week have highlighted how the guidance does not apply to non-refillable e-cigarette devices designed to be discarded, such as Puff Bar and Smok, a loophole that must be closed to protect kids. The administration’s guidance will also not stop ‘mint’ products changing their name to ‘menthol’ to remain on the market and continue to hook kids.

“As our 2020 ‘State of Tobacco Control’ report found, much more can be done by the federal government to protect kids. The American Lung Association is sad to see a tobacco industry-supported approach take precedence over lung health, especially the lung health of our children. The Lung Association will continue to champion the lung health of children and advocate for the federal government to do more to protect kids from e-cigarettes with proven policies to reduce and prevent tobacco use. We also urge states to follow Massachusetts’s lead and enact comprehensive legislation to prohibit all flavored tobacco products.”

Learn more about e-cigarettes and lung health at Lung.org/ecigs. For media interested in speaking with an expert about e-cigarettes, tobacco use and lung health, contact Allison MacMunn at the American Lung Association at [email protected] or 312-801-7628.

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