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Florida Congresswoman Wants to Crack Down on Flavored Disposable Vapes

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Last week, U.S. Rep. Shelia Cherfilus-McCormick, D-Fla., brought out a proposal to close the “Trump administration’s loophole on disposable electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) (i.e., disposable vapes) containing flavors specifically intended to entice our children into becoming hooked on nicotine for life.”

The bill “directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to update the guidance under Section 2 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to describe how the agency will prioritize enforcement against disposable ENDS products, including non-tobacco-derived nicotine products.”

The congresswoman weighed in on the bill last week.

“As the mother of two children and a former healthcare executive, I am pleased to introduce this critical legislation,” said Cherfilus-McCormick. “Too many of our youth are forming nicotine addictions, increasing their risk of future addiction to other drugs. I am even more troubled by the fact that Chinese manufacturers and suppliers are flooding the U.S. market with unregulated, harmful substances that are altering our children’s brain development and lives. I am calling on the Biden Administration to close this harmful loophole for the sake of our youth and to put an end to this national epidemic.”

The congresswoman’s office offered some of the reasons behind the proposal.

“According to the 2022 National Youth Tobacco Survey published by the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, disposable e-cigarettes are the device currently most used by youth,” the congresswoman’s office noted. “In Florida, roughly 1,750 youth under the age of 18 become new daily smokers each year. Additionally, statistics show that 270,000 youth under the age of 18 who are alive in Florida will ultimately die prematurely from smoking.”

The congresswoman pointed to efforts in Broward County to crack down on the program, including banning e-cigarettes in county facilities. However, there are studies showing almost 16 percent of youth in that county use e-cigarettes.

She also pointed to “a loophole created by the Trump administration that allows for the sale of flavored e-cigarettes if the delivery device is disposable” and her office offered some of the details.

“ In 2020, the Trumpa administration took a half-step forward by prohibiting the sale of flavored e-cigarettes such as fruity pebbles and bubble gum, but only for e-cigarettes that required a cartridge refill. This left an opening for companies to swoop in and sell disposable versions of the e-cigarettes with the very same flavors intended to be taken off the shelves to protect our children,” the congresswoman’s office maintained.

The American Heart Association is backing the proposal.

“The American Heart Association appreciates Rep. Cherfilus-McCormick’s leadership to close the disposable e-cigarette loophole, which has kept dangerous products with kid-friendly flavors on the market and easily accessible to our nation’s youth. Big Tobacco has been successfully manipulating loopholes such as this one in its ongoing attempts to hook youth and adults to its harmful products. The Disposable ENDS Product Enforcement Act will provide FDA with a vital tool to hold the tobacco industry accountable and move us one step closer to the Tobacco Endgame,” said Mark Schoeberl, the American Heart Association’s executive vice president of advocacy.

The bill was sent to the U.S House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday. So far, there are no co-sponsors and no companion measure over in the U.S. Senate.

Author

  • Kevin Derby

    Originally from Jacksonville, Kevin Derby is a contributing writer for Florida Daily and covers politics across Florida.

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