The official title of the “flavor ban” that passed the US House of Representatives is HR 2339 or the Protecting American Lungs and Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act of 2020. This act revises requirements related to the safety, sale, and advertisement of tobacco products, including electronic nicotine delivery systems and according to the sponsors it is intended to curb the rise of youth vaping rates.
What is it for?
According to the sponsors it is intended to curb the rise of youth vaping rates. It was introduced in April of 2019 when there was an outbreak of lung injuries that were linked to vitamin E acetate, a thickening agent added to black-market cannabis vapes. The bill is meant amend a previous bill from 1938 with respect to the sale and marketing of tobacco products. It includes a ban on flavored tobacco products like cloves and menthol cigarettes as well as non-tobacco flavors for electronic usage. On top of that the bill would also ban online sales of Electronic Nicotine Delivery system and restrict advertising and marketing of those non-flavored products individual under 21 years of age.
Why are there issues here?
While both sides agree that children should not be vaping and that tobacco companies should not be marketing to them, this is a throwing the baby out with the bathwater scenario. The bans proposed in this bill are seen as counterproductive efforts that restrict access to products that have been proven to provide a less harmful alternative to millions of adults who smoke combustible cigarettes.
What does this have to with the rest of the world?
We have seen time and time again that many countries and their regulatory agencies look to the FDA and the United States for guidance in the area of tobacco regulation. Any laws enacted here will undoubtedly have a trickle down effect around the world.
So what is next?
The bill, which passed 213-195 is unlikely to considered by the Senate, and President Trump’s advisers issued a statement before it was passed they would recommend he veto it in its current form.