U.S. Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick weighed in after U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) announced “that it would no longer allow dangerous Chinese-manufactured disposable vapes into the country by empowering import inspectors with the authority to detain shipments of the product arriving in the United States.”
“As a mother and former healthcare executive, I am committed to using my elected office to advocate for the health and well-being of our youth. I applaud the Biden-Harris Administration for taking this important first step in addressing the flavored disposable vape epidemic,” said Cherfilus-McCormick. “Our children are being actively targeted by Chinese manufacturers of flavored disposable vapes and unfortunately, more are becoming addicted to nicotine as a result every day. Stopping Chinese-manufactured flavored disposable vapes at our borders is a positive step that will save lives. I will continue to work with the Administration to have the flavored disposable vapes already in our country taken off store shelves as swiftly as possible.”
Back in February, the congresswoman offered 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 when she introduced it.
“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 Trump 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 bill was sent to the U.S House Energy and Commerce Committee.
U.S. Rep. Cory Mills, R-Fla., became the first Republican to co-sponsor the proposal.
“I am proud to co-lead this bipartisan legislation with Rep. Cherfilus-McCormick to protect our children from dangerous flavored disposable e-cigarettes,” Mills said when he threw his support behind it last month. “The Disposable ENDS Product Enforcement Act will require the FDA to prioritize enforcement of disposable electronic nicotine delivery.
“Too many of our kids are subjected to these harmful nicotine products that have dangerous lasting effects. As a father, this issue is personal to me,” he added. “I am proud to lead this charge with Rep. Cherfilus-McCormick on a bipartisan basis, because protecting our kids is not a partisan issue.”
In the meantime, Cherfilus-McCormick plans to continue working on the matter.
“I will continue to work with the Biden-Harris administration to close the flavored disposable e-cigarette loophole entirely and ensure the safety of future generations,” she said.
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