Statement of American Lung Association President and CEO Harold Wimmer in response to the House of Representatives passage of H.R. 2339, the Protecting American Lungs and Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act of 2020:
“The U.S. House of Representatives took a much-needed step forward in restoring the promise of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act today as it passed H.R. 2339, the ‘Protecting American Lungs and Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act of 2020.’ This historic legislation will dramatically improve the health of our nation by requiring proven public policies called for by the American Lung Association that prevent and reduce tobacco use.
“For too long, the lack of action by the Food and Drug Administration and the federal government about e-cigarettes has resulted in skyrocketing vaping rates among youth. One in four high school students vape and one in three use at least one tobacco product. This is setting our kids up to become the next generation to start and get hooked on tobacco.
“This legislation will halt some of the worst tobacco industry tactics aimed at our kids. It will remove all flavored tobacco products from the marketplace, including menthol cigarettes. It will also end the sale of almost all online tobacco products, and compel FDA to implement ‘track and trace’ technology on all tobacco products to prevent black market, counterfeit and smuggling activities.
“Also, in a historic first, this legislation would tax e-cigarettes at rates equivalent to cigarettes. Tobacco taxes are found to be one of the most effective ways to prevent and reduce tobacco. The ‘Protecting American Lungs’ legislation will then use revenue from e-cigarette taxes to invest in quit-smoking efforts at the state and local levels.
“Finally, the American Lung Association applauds Chairman Pallone and Chairman Neal for including the ICAN Act as part of this package. This provision makes asthma medications more affordable for people who have high deductible health plans. This will help people breathe easier, leading to fewer asthma episodes and emergency room visits.
“The ‘Protecting American Lungs and Reversing the Youth Tobacco Act’ is a win-win for lung health. It will help stem the epidemic by preventing youth tobacco use, making sure smokers – especially those in minority communities – have the help they need to quit smoking for good, and helping make asthma medications more affordable. Now it is up to the U.S. Senate to continue to move this legislation forward.”
Learn more about proven policies to reduce tobacco use through “State of Tobacco Control,” and e-cigarettes and lung health at Lung.org/ecigs. For media interested in speaking with an expert about effective tobacco control policies, contact the American Lung Association at [email protected] or 312-801-7629.