U.S. House passes bill banning flavored e-liquids, goes to Senate

US House of Representatives passes bill that would ban most flavored e-liquids and online sales

JOPLIN, Mo. – Eight years ago Bradley Crane started vaping to the point of smoking. A habit that started when he was 15 years old.

“I mean, I was probably a 1.5 pack a day smoker, and as soon as I started vaping I knew I was done. I felt better. I felt like I didn’t poison myself every half hour, ”Crane explains. “So I started to wonder if other people would actually use it if they could get their hands on it. And so opened a flea market stall and quickly became the hot spot of Joplin flea market.

Soon after, he and his wife opened SWMO Vape Shop in Joplin.

Fast forward 7 years, the store is still there – and Crane is doing more and more to try and keep it that way.

Right now, he’s encouraging vapers to oppose a bill that he says is bad for business and vapers.

“It would devastate vaping,” Crane says.

In December 2019, the legal age for purchasing tobacco products was increased from 18 to 21.

Then, in January, the sale of flavored liquids other than tobacco and menthol in closed pod systems was banned.

Now, a bill titled “Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act of 2019” has been approved by the United States House of Representatives and has moved to the Senate.

If it were to become law, it would ban the sale of all flavored e-liquids other than tobacco in the United States – and ban all online sales.

Lawmakers say the intention is to keep products out of the reach of minors.

Crane says no one wants minors using the products, but a total ban would close hundreds of stores across the country and injure millions of adults who use the products.

“It’s not going to be that exciting for people if they run out of flavors. And it’s ridiculous to think that adults don’t like or deserve flavors. Anytime you do something that lowers the value of vapor as an alternative to tobacco, you are hurting someone. Whether you realize it or not, ”Crane says.

But it’s a move that “Healthy Nevada,” a Vernon County advocacy group, applauds – highlighting vaping rates among young people.

The group encourages residents to lead healthier lives. Part of that this week (March 2-6) is the High School “Vape Take Back” campaign, where students are encouraged to return their e-cigarettes anonymously.

According to the CDC’s 2019 National Youth Smoking Survey, the estimated number of youth (middle and high school) who used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days rose to 5 million, from 3.6 million in 2018. The survey covered 10,000 high school students and 8,000 college students, with a response rate of 66%.

The CDC and FDA then used data from the 2016 National Youth Tobacco Survey to assess why college students use e-cigarettes, with 39% saying because a friend or family uses them, and 31 % indicating the availability of aromas.

With the growing number of teens using the product, Healthy Nevada believes a ban is a step in the right direction.

“I think because there isn’t a lot of research yet showing that it goes as far as getting adults to use vaping products to quit smoking, and we’ve seen a 900% increase in the number of ‘kids using vaping products, I think we need to think more in terms of what’s best for our kids and their future, ”says Amanda Fisher of Healthy Nevada.“ There are all kinds of alternatives for people to use. quit smoking, so I think we have to think about the kids, and that’s more important. “

But, Crane says parents should be more responsible for keeping e-cigarettes away from their children.

He also says that the evidence to support the effectiveness of e-cigarettes for adults can be found if you look to the UK. This is where the government encourages smokers to vape, and where research from the Royal College of Physicians in 2016 indicates that “the health hazard resulting from long-term inhalation of vapors from electronic cigarettes available today does not exist. should not exceed 5% of the harms of smoking ”, and research from February 2019 published by the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that electronic cigarettes are more effective in quitting smoking than tradition helps with smoking.

“There is enough information that you can find if you really care that it can show you that it can be a useful product. There’s no reason to try to remove it, ”Crane says.

Crane waits to see what happens, but says he’s not too worried because of a statement released by the White House.

He says, in part, that the administration did not support the bill because it “contains provisions that are not supported by the available evidence regarding harm reduction.”

The full White House statement can be found here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/SAP_HR-2339.pdf

“It’s heartening to see the White House say it would veto any bill passed. And I don’t think that’s a mistake, ”Crane says.

The bill would also ban the sale of menthol cigarettes.

Learn more about the “Youth Tobacco Epidemic Reversal Act, 2019:” https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/2339

Link to the results of the 2019 National Youth Smoking Survey: https://www.fda.gov/tobacco-products/youth-and-tobacco/youth-tobacco-use-results-national-youth-tobacco-survey

Link to research from the Royal College of Physicians from 2016: https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/projects/outputs/nicotine-without-smoke-tobacco-harm-reduction

Link to research published in the New England Journal of Medicine: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1808779

Aron M. Newman

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