Senators draft bipartisan bill to ban flavored e-cigarettes

Senators draft bipartisan bill to ban flavored e-cigarettes

Senators are making a bipartisan push to ban flavored vaping products, following reports that the number of underage users of e-cigarettes has spiked.

Sens. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - Trump, Biden renew push for Latino support Sunday shows - Trump team defends coronavirus response Oregon senator says Trump's blame on 'forest management' for wildfires is 'just a big and devastating lie' MORE (D-Ore.) and Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyCrenshaw looms large as Democrats look to flip Texas House seat The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Republicans lawmakers rebuke Trump on election Trump dumbfounds GOP with latest unforced error MORE (R-Utah) have drafted legislation that would ban all flavors of e-cigarettes except tobacco, effective within 90 days of the bill being enacted. It also would attempt to crack down on refillable “e-liquid” cartridges.

“Vaping companies have hooked millions of our children on nicotine using e-cigarette flavors like ‘gummy bear,’ ‘scooby snacks,’ and ‘strawberries and cream.’ This means massive health consequences for the next generation, and we have to end this addiction crisis. We need to get these flavors off the market,” Merkley said.

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The legislation mirrors a similar path outlined last week by the Trump administration, which is moving to ban all non-tobacco flavors of e-cigarettes.

In addition to the flavor ban, Romney and Merkley’s bill would require standards on the design of e-cigarettes, monitor the public health risks associated with the use of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, and apply existing tobacco taxes to e-cigarettes.

“With nearly a quarter of high school students vaping regularly, we must take decisive action to prevent a new generation from addiction and serious health risks,” Romney said. 

There has been a growing chorus of lawmakers calling for the administration to use its authority to remove e-cigarette flavors and take action against e-cigarette companies for selling them.

The acting commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration briefed senators on the administration’s position last week.

Senators largely praised the administration’s announcement of a flavor ban, but have been calling for more regulation.

House Democrats have two separate investigations into the marketing practices of Juul, the country’s largest e-cigarette maker.

The crackdown on vaping comes as two issues related to e-cigarettes have coalesced in recent weeks: new evidence that teen vaping is getting worse, and the spread of a mysterious lung illness linked to vaping.