In its single-minded pursuit of maximizing profits, Big Tobacco has used deceptive marketing, large-scale lobbying, and teen-friendly products (such as flavored e-cigarettes) to circumvent existing policies. This combination of tactics aggravates the need for anti-tobacco policies by increasing the likelihood that people will use life-threatening tobacco products. Legislative advocacy is a key aspect of successful nicotine use prevention.
Many do not realize that flavors in e-cigarettes are legal due to a loophole in the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009. Although the Act banned flavors in cigarettes, it failed to regulate e-cigarettes because they had not yet become a popular nicotine delivery device. By regulating flavors and diminishing teen tobacco use, the federal government protects the health of its citizens and gains fiscally in the long term by minimizing healthcare costs to treat the effects of e-cigarette addiction, costs that are ultimately borne by taxpayers. We are currently working with lawmakers, nonprofits, and other organizations to pass a flavor ban and other regulations on e-cigarettes at the national level. At the national level, we also support H.R. 4019, a bipartisan bill that would ban e-cigarettes and other vaping devices in schools and childcare facilities nationwide. We were proud to be quoted in sponsor U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel’s September 2019 press release publicizing this bill (available here: https://engel.house.gov/latest-news/engel-statement-on-surge-of-vapingrelated-lung-illnesses/)
New York State
A few months ago, Governor Cuomo announced his intention to include Tobacco 21 in the State budget. However, while age restrictions are very important, it is not the full solution that New York state desperately needs to prevent teen nicotine use. Why? Because flavors are drawing teens to e-cigarettes. We are currently collaborating with Assemblypeople, State Senators, and organizations including Reality Check.
The leaders of Students Against Nicotine played an instrumental role in the passage of Westchester's Tobacco 21 Legislation in Spring 2018. We are currently advocating for a flavor ban and other county-level legislation that will further decrease nicotine use. After advocating for a flavor ban in Yonkers, NY, pop. 202,000, we were proud to show our support as Mayor Mike Spano signed one into law in September. Check out our quote in the press release here: https://www.yonkersny.gov/Home/Components/News/News/6781/3218
Flavor Ban Policy Paper: Pros and Cons
Following rigorous analysis, we and others have determined that a flavor ban would make a significant contribution to decreasing the number of teens using e-cigarettes. Please see our pro/con paper below on the topic for more information.