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Local Health Departments: Administration's E-cigarette Policy Does Not Go Far Enough

Jan 02, 2020 | Theresa Spinner

Washington, DC, January 2, 2020 — The Trump administration announced today a new e-cigarette enforcement policy that allows menthol flavors as well as flavored e-liquids used in “open-tank” e-cigarettes to remain on the market. The policy will stop sales of flavored cartridge-based e-cigarettes (other than tobacco or menthol). The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), representing the nation’s nearly 3,000 local health departments, recognizes this action, in combination with monitoring of targeted marketing to youth, is a step forward to address the youth vaping epidemic. However, NACCHO is disappointed with the reversal from the President’s September 11 statement that the administration would ban all flavored tobacco products and e-liquids, which have been shown to strongly attract youth users, contributing to the youth vaping epidemic.

“We are deeply disappointed that the Trump administration has not taken stronger action guided by the data from local communities showing a sharp rise in youth vaping.” said Lori Tremmel Freeman, NACCHO Chief Executive Officer.

“We are deeply disappointed that the Trump administration has not taken stronger action guided by the data from local communities showing a sharp rise in youth vaping.”

– Lori Tremmel Freeman, NACCHO Chief Executive Officer

“Local health departments report that residents of their communities are seeking policy solutions to protect their kids. There is an entire generation of youth who now have a very real problem of addiction. The removal of products from the market will not address the kids and young adults who are already addicted. In fact, leaving other vaping products on the market opens up the possibility of cross addiction to menthol or nicotine products. We implore the administration to invest resources for our addicted children and youth and to prevent new cases of addiction.  Federal leadership is essential; we will only be successful in addressing the youth vaping epidemic through a coordinated, national approach that protects all Americans.”

The rise of e-cigarette use is a major public health concern across the country. NACCHO’s recently released report, Tobacco Control Efforts in Rural America: Perspectives from Local Health Departments, documented that nearly all (93%) rural local health departments indicated that e-cigarettes were a threat in their communities and have engaged in prevention programs in schools, educational and social media campaigns, used advertisements from national partners like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration and Truth Initiative, and worked to include the use of e-cigarettes in community health assessments and smoke-free air policies.

Local health departments are key advisors who help shape and inform local tobacco-related policies, including local laws about where these products can be used, the legal purchasing age, and the local availability of flavored tobacco products. As of October 1, 2019, a total of 139 municipalities across the country have enacted laws restricting flavored tobacco sales in some manner. Of those municipalities, 34 currently prohibit the sales of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol, without exception.
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About Theresa Spinner

Theresa Spinner is the Director, Media and Public Relations at NACCHO.

More posts by Theresa Spinner

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