LOS ANGELES - Feb. 27, 2020 - Representatives will vote on house bill HR 2339. The bill would prohibit the sale of flavored tobacco, flavored pipe tobacco, flavored vape e-juices, electronic cigarettes, and disposable nicotine products.
House bill HR 2339 – The Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic ACT was sponsored by Rep. Frank Pallone of the New Jersey and Donna Shalala of Florida. The bill was introduced a year ago, and now the house representatives will decide whether to ban flavored vaping sales in all 50 states.
The proposed bill was crafted to revises the requirements with the sale, advertisement, and safety of tobacco products and delivery. These requirements would leave some manufacturing companies of vapor products in trouble. The bill provisions affect vapers in the following way:
- The bill prohibits the sale of flavored nicotine tobacco or any products with "characterizing flavors" unless approved by the FDA and proven to increase the likelihood of smoking cessation.
- The bill prohibits the online sale or non-face-to-face transaction, except for special or specified circumstances.
- The bill orders the FDA to regulate the sale of products not derived or made from tobacco or those containing synthetic nicotine
- The bill provides FDA authority to collect user's fees from importers and manufacturers annually. This can increase prices on e-hookah, electronic cigarette products, vape pens, disposable devices, and e-liquids in general.
- The bill requires the FDA to apply regulation on advertising or marketing of vaping, e-cigarette, and all tobacco products.
- The bill requires the Government Accountability Office to conduct further studies on e-cigarettes and vape products.
- The bill increases civil penalties for violations of restrictions on the sale of the flavored nicotine, e-cigarette, and all products.
What is the Implication of HR 2339?
The sponsors of HR 2339 believe that the ban will help prevent teenagers from using vape products. While the intention is good, it will not work and could create future problems. "Ban of vaping products can lead to a black market and even allow certain low-quality products to proliferate," according to Art Harutyunyan, a senior executive of online vape store Provape.com.
Moreover, the prohibition of flavored nicotine could lead to large-scale smuggling of cigarette products. Hence, the bill does not guarantee success and must not be supported. "Ban on vape products would not stop youth use but could make teenagers more curious and adventurous on buying vapes and tobacco," added Harutyunyan.
"Congress must act to reduce youth nicotine addiction by making it clear that selling tobacco products to kids is illegal," Rep. Pallone said last year. "My legislation also treats e-cigarettes and other tobacco products the same as traditional cigarettes under the law."
HR 2339 has 126 co-sponsors or representatives who have shown their support. For the bill to pass the house, there must be 218 votes. When approved, the bill will move on to the senate.
The ban on menthol cigarettes will not take effect immediately until a year after the law is passed. But, the ban on flavored nicotine cigarettes would be imposed in 30 days. And would lead to thousands of vape shops closing with still millions of e-cigarettes and vaping products in their inventories.
What is the White House position on the bill?
On Feb 27, 2020, the Executive Office of the President published a statement showing its concerns about the current version of the bill.
"The bill takes the wrong approach to tobacco regulation. Rather than continuing to focus on the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products, Congress should implement President Trump's Budget proposal to create a new, more directly accountable agency within the Department of Health and Human Services to focus on tobacco regulation. This new agency would be led by a Senate-confirmed Director and would have greater capacity to respond to the growing complexity of tobacco products and respond effectively to tobacco-related public health concerns.
If presented to the President in its current form, the President's senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill." said the statement.