Senator Collins Joins Bipartisan Group in Introducing Bill to Hold E-Cigarette Companies Accountable for the Youth Vaping Crisis

The Resources to Prevent Youth Vaping Act is endorsed by the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association

Washington, D.C. — This week, U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Mitt Romney (R-UT), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced bipartisan legislation to protect children from the dangers of e-cigarettes. The Resources to Prevent Youth Vaping Act would require that e-cigarette manufacturers pay user fees to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help to fund more activity at FDA to conduct stronger oversight of the e-cigarette industry and increase awareness for the danger of e-cigarettes. Companion legislation will be introduced in the House by Representative Cheri Bustos (D-IL17).

 

“The dramatic increase in the use of e-cigarettes by our young people is threatening the progress we have made to reduce overall tobacco use. Teachers have talked with me about the growing epidemic of vaping in high schools and middle schools in Maine,” said Senator Collins. “This legislation would impose fees on e-cigarette manufacturers similar to fees for other tobacco products, which could be used to support youth education and prevention initiatives as well as greater enforcement activities such as age restrictions, marketing to children, and illegal products.”

 

“Teachers and parents are overwhelmed by the youth vaping crisis—a crisis that’s the result of e-cigarette manufacturers marketing their products directly to young people. These companies should be on the hook for the funding to respond to this crisis,” said Senator Shaheen. “Teachers and parents shouldn’t have to fight this fight alone. In New Hampshire, our high school students are using e-cigarettes more than their peers in every other state in the nation. This legislation gives FDA the authority and resources the agency needs to hold e-cigarette companies accountable, crack down on e-cigarette sales to minors and raise awareness among youth about the dangers of vaping. Congress and the Trump administration need to act to address this crisis and passing this legislation would be a major step forward.”

 

“Data from 2019 indicates that more than 1 in 4 high school students have used e-cigarettes. I continue to work with my colleagues to take flavored products that are designed for no other purpose than to attract kids, off the market, but our efforts cannot stop there. As we face a growing epidemic of youth vaping, it is crucial to ensure that our agencies have the necessary resources to ensure that another generation of Americans do not become addicted to nicotine,” said Senator Murkowski. “This bill will create a more even regulatory playing field by expanding the existing FDA authority to collect user fees on traditional tobacco producers to include e-cigarette producers— a significant and increasing share of the tobacco marketplace.”

 

“The youth vaping epidemic has now hooked five million kids—an increase of 135 percent over the past two years of the Trump Administration,” Senator Durbin said. “This bill would impose a new user fee on e-cigarette companies, so that the FDA would have the resources it needs to better review and regulate these addictive products.  In order to protect an entire generation of children from nicotine addition, we must act now.”

 

“The FDA currently assesses and collects user fees from manufacturers and importers of cigarettes and other forms of tobacco, but electronic nicotine devices are not subject to the same fees,” Senator Romney said. “By granting the FDA the authorization to collect user fees on e-cigarettes, our legislation builds on the positive work done so far to tackle the vaping crisis and protect our kids’ health in Utah and across the country.”

 

“The rise of teen vaping is an epidemic and we must take action to protect children from the dangers of e-cigarettes and prevent them from using harmful tobacco products,” said Senator Baldwin. “This legislation is an important step forward to fund stronger oversight of the e-cigarette industry and increase our prevention and youth awareness efforts.”

   

In recent years, the use of e-cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) products, such as JUUL, has skyrocketed, particularly among teens. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported that:

 

·         E-cigarette use among high school students rose from 1.5 percent of students in 2011 to 27.5 percent of students in 2019.

 

·         E-cigarette use among middle school students also grew, from 0.6 percent of students in 2011 to 10.5 percent of students in 2019.

 

·         The availability of flavored e-cigarettes, and easily-concealable vaping products, like JUUL, have made e-cigarettes more popular among youth.

 

The Resources to Prevent Youth Vaping Act increases the total amount that will be collected in tobacco user fees by $100 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 and indexes that amount to inflation for future years. Critically, the bill also authorizes FDA to collect user fees from all manufacturers of products that have been deemed as tobacco products by FDA, including e-cigarettes. Currently, manufacturers of traditional combustible tobacco products pay into FDA user fees, but e-cigarette companies are exempt due to a loophole in the law. The amount collected from individual e-cigarette manufacturers will be proportional to their share of the overall tobacco market, as determined by FDA. This approach is consistent with the Trump administration’s e-cigarette user fee proposal included in the FY 2020 Budget. FDA would be able to use this additional revenue from e-cigarette user fees to conduct safety review of vaping products, prevent sales of e-cigarettes to minors, help support efforts to educate youth on the dangers of e-cigarettes, and increase the agency’s oversight capabilities.

 

At a Senate Health Committee hearing in November, Senator Collins urged Mitch Zeller, the Director of the Center for Tobacco Products at the FDA, to take stronger action to keep e-cigarettes out of the hands of minors.  Senator Collins is a cosponsor of a bill to remove flavored vaping products from the market as well as legislation to prevent online sales of electronic cigarettes to minors.

 

Full text of the bill is available here.