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house Bill H.R. 2339

Should Tobacco Taxes Be Increased & Flavored Vaping Products Banned?

Argument in favor

Raising taxes on tobacco products will discourage their use and improve public health. Flavored vaping products entice children to try them and they end up getting addicted, so banning them outright will prevent that from happening.

burrkitty's Opinion
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02/27/2020
There is absolutely NOTHING about NICOTINE DRUG ADDICTION that is good. If you don’t have the cajones to ban it outright at least tax the hell out of it. I’v got no sympathy for these privileged nicotine addicts and their whining. “Flavors” “Safer alternative” BS. QUIT SMOKING.
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Leslie's Opinion
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02/27/2020
Taxes should equate to a very expensive health insurance policy since smokers will develop very expensive medical problems (lung cancer, COPD, heart disease, stroke, Aortic Aneurysm, Oropharyngeal Cancer, Esophageal Cancer, Cataracts, etc) that require treatment. State Attorney Generals have been suing companies to recover costs to Medicaid programs which cost share with the Federal Government but smokers also need to pay more for these products and the tax needs to go into smoking cessation programs & treatment. @BurrKitty: Agree that there is no benefit to these products. @Kansas Tamale: Agree there have been no safety studies done on vapor products. Both cigarettes & cap products should be removed from the market & companies that produce & sell them should be required to do studies like pharmaceutical companies that they have efficacy (benefit) & are safe. Drugs that have been approved for smoking cessation because they have done the studies are: 1) 1st line treatment o Zyban o Chantix 2) 2nd line treatment o Clinidine o Nortriptyline https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007439.htm https://www.unitypoint.org/livewell/article.aspx?id=17ace3fc-fb01-45c3-8617-1beb81404fc4
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William's Opinion
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02/28/2020
I quit smoking in 1975 and believe me it was one of the hardest things I ever did. I have friends who died because of lung cancer. I'm 83 years old and firmly believe I would be here if I had not quit. Raise the tax! It might save lives? As for the ecigarettes or whatever they are called, ban them completely.
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Argument opposed

This bill combines too many issues into one piece of legislation and shortchanges the ability to have a serious debate on the merits of contentious issues, including an increase in tobacco taxes and banning flavored vaping products.

Matthew's Opinion
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10/16/2019
This bill is taking away ADULT smokers choice to use flavored non tobacco tasting products to quit a deadly habit. Flavored ENDS products are vital in helping ADULTS transition from smoking to a 95% less harmful alternative!
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Charles's Opinion
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10/16/2019
This bill goes against the freedom of choice for adults. Flavors of alcohol are on the market without a problem. Flavors of wine are on the market without a problem. The problem is not flavors. The problem is the level of nicotine in these closed end pod devices. In the UK, they have a 20% mg/mL maximum strength and I am for that. Banning flavors will not solve the problem of illegal THC cartridges. Banning flavors will not solve the issue of gas stations and convenience stores selling to minors. Specialty vape shops are diligent upon checking IDs and the FDA inspections will prove that.
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Chris's Opinion
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10/16/2019
This bill would put thousands out of business and would destroy a market created to solve the problems created by the MSA..
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What is House Bill H.R. 2339?

This bill — the Protecting American Lungs and Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act of 2020  — would impose a number of restrictions on tobacco products & sales (including vaping products), increase tobacco & nicotine taxes, and ban flavored tobacco products. It consolidates provisions from four bills into this one piece of legislation, a breakdown of which can be found below.

Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act

This section would revise requirements related to the safety, sale, and advertisement of tobacco products, including electronic nicotine delivery systems such as e-cigarettes, e-hookahs, e-cigars, and vape pens. It would also:

  • Require the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to implement regulations to require color graphics on cigarette package labels depicting the negative health consequences of smoking;

  • Require the FDA to apply tobacco product regulations to all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes;

  • Generally prohibit online retail sales of tobacco products, including electronic nicotine delivery systems;

  • Prohibit the use of flavored products in an electronic nicotine delivery system, except in specified circumstances;

  • Increase user fees that the FDA collects from manufacturers and importers;

  • Direct the FDA to regulate products containing synthetic nicotine (not made or derived from tobacco);

  • Exempt cigars from premarket review requirements;

  • Establish a demonstration grant program to develop strategies for smoking cessation in medically underserved communities;

  • Increase civil penalties for certain violations on the sale of tobacco products; and

  • Require the Government Accountability Office to study e-cigarettes.

Protecting American Lungs Act

This section would impose an excise tax on “taxable nicotine” — which is nicotine that has been extracted, concentrated, or synthesized and is treated as a tobacco product. The tax wouldn’t apply to nicotine used in a product that has been approved by the FDA for sale as a nicotine replacement therapy.

Inhaler Coverage and Access Now (I CAN) Act

This section would provide coverage under a high deductible health plan not requiring a deductible of inhalers for treatment of any chronic lung disease, including asthma (and any medicine or drug which is delivered through such inhalers for treatment of such diseases).

Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act

This section would waive Medicare coinsurance requirements for colorectal cancer screening tests, regardless of the code billed for a resulting diagnosis or procedure.

Impact

People who use tobacco or vaping products; people with high-deductible health plans who use inhalers; people on Medicare undergoing colorectal cancer screening; and the FDA.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 2339

The CBO estimates that enacting this bill would decrease the deficit by $364 million over the 2020-2030 period, as increased spending would be more than offset by increased tax revenues.

More Information

In-Depth: House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) offered the following statement on the introduction of the Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act:

“The Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act makes clear that we will not tolerate the proliferation of slick new products purposefully designed to appeal to young people to get them addicted to nicotine and tobacco. Congress must act to reduce youth nicotine addiction by making it clear that selling tobacco products to kids is illegal. My legislation also treats e-cigarettes and other tobacco products the same as traditional cigarettes under the law. We cannot afford to wait — we are on the cusp of losing an entirely new generation to a lifetime of nicotine addiction.”

House Energy & Commerce Committee Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-OR) & Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) explained the opposition to this bill when it was considered in committee:

“Reducing youth tobacco use is a shared goal of both Republicans and Democrats. A surge in the use of e-cigarettes has resulted in a dramatic increase in tobacco utilization by minors in recent years. To combat this epidemic, Republicans put forth policy proposals such as “T21” — a federal prohibition on the sale and marketing of tobacco products to those under 21 years of age. The Administration also explored limiting the sale of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) to age restricted locations. Both policies aim to address the issue of “social sourcing” — when of-age high school students buy and resell tobacco products to their younger classmates. This is known to be a primary method through which minors have been acquiring ENDS products… But H.R. 2339, the legislation considered before the Energy and Commerce Committee in November, goes well beyond the issue of youth vaping and takes aim at the entire tobacco industry, including products used legally by adults.”

Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-NY) offered the following statement on the introduction of his Protecting American Lungs Act:

“When I was Nassau County Executive, one of my top priorities was addressing our nation’s smoking epidemic. Now as a Member of Congress, I’m terrified by the number of teenagers who are becoming addicted to nicotine because they vape. Increasing the cost of vaping will have a direct correlation to decreasing the usage of vaping products. In New York State, we have the highest cigarette taxes in the country, and as a result our smoking and cancer rates are some of the lowest in the country.”

House Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Kevin Brady (R-TX) criticized Democrats for rushing this bill to the floor without a hearing and explained the opposition to this bill in its committee report:

“Clearly, there is bipartisan concern on this Committee about the dangers of vaping, especially among our youth. Many of us are parents. All of us represent communities that have been touched in some way by this issue. And none of us wants to see a single person hurt, injured, or worse by vaping.That is a solid foundation on which to begin a serious discussion about vaping, but this process — or lack thereof — has robbed us of that important discussion… This Committee should take its constitutional taxing power seriously. Sadly, rushing through a bill with two days’ notice and not a single hearing does not serve this Committee, or more importantly, the people we’re trying to help. It is time to start over and do this right. This issue is too important for us to do less.

The Trump administration released a statement of administration policy threatening that the president would veto this bill if it reached his desk, and explained in part:

"The Administration cannot support H.R. 2339's counterproductive efforts to restrict access to products that may provide a less harmful alternative to millions of adults who smoke combustible cigarettes. This includes the bill's prohibition of menthol e-liquids, which available evidence indicates are used relatively rarely by youth. It also includes the bill's approach to remote retail sales. At this time, problems surrounding such sales should be addressed through the application of age verification technologies rather than, as this bill would do, prohibiting such sales entirely."

Here’s a rundown of how the bills that comprise this package fared in committee and their cosponsors:

  • The Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic passed on a mostly party-line vote of 28-24, with three Democrats opposed and one Republican in favor. It has the support of 126 cosponsors, including 124 Democrats and two Republicans.

  • The Protecting American Lungs Act passed on a mostly party-line vote of 24-15 (1 present): one Democratic was opposed and one voted present, while two Republicans voted in favor. It has one cosponsor, Rep. Pete King (R-NY).

  • The Inhaler Coverage and Access Now (I CAN) Act passed on a voice vote. It has the support of four cosponsors, including three Republicans and one Democrat.

  • The Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act didn’t receive a committee vote. It has the support of 339 bipartisan cosponsors, including 211 Democrats and 128 Republicans.


Of Note: E-cigarette use by middle and high school-aged youths has increased markedly in recent years. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) data compiled by USAFacts shows that the percentage of 6th through 12th graders who reported using an e-cigarette in their lifetime increased from about 8% in 2013 to 25% in 2018, with 14% reporting they used an e-cigarette within the last 30 days.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: iStock.com / AndreyPopov)

AKA

Protecting American Lungs and Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act of 2020

Official Title

To amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act with respect to the sale and marketing of tobacco products, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house Passed February 28th, 2020
    Roll Call Vote 213 Yea / 195 Nay
    IntroducedApril 18th, 2019

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    There is absolutely NOTHING about NICOTINE DRUG ADDICTION that is good. If you don’t have the cajones to ban it outright at least tax the hell out of it. I’v got no sympathy for these privileged nicotine addicts and their whining. “Flavors” “Safer alternative” BS. QUIT SMOKING.
    Like (70)
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    This bill is taking away ADULT smokers choice to use flavored non tobacco tasting products to quit a deadly habit. Flavored ENDS products are vital in helping ADULTS transition from smoking to a 95% less harmful alternative!
    Like (279)
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    This bill goes against the freedom of choice for adults. Flavors of alcohol are on the market without a problem. Flavors of wine are on the market without a problem. The problem is not flavors. The problem is the level of nicotine in these closed end pod devices. In the UK, they have a 20% mg/mL maximum strength and I am for that. Banning flavors will not solve the problem of illegal THC cartridges. Banning flavors will not solve the issue of gas stations and convenience stores selling to minors. Specialty vape shops are diligent upon checking IDs and the FDA inspections will prove that.
    Like (233)
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    This bill would put thousands out of business and would destroy a market created to solve the problems created by the MSA..
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    Stripping adult freedom doesn’t help a real parenting problem. Especially with the blood of Americans to do it.
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    Adults who quit smoking do not want to be forced back to tobacco flavoring whether in ecig form or combustible tobacco form. Vaping is an already illegal market for children and as such this makes the use a parental problem. Children should not be dictating the lives and safety of adults, nor should govt advocate that they do so under the guise of "save the children"
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    This bill will only create bigger problems! This creates a bigger black market! Also Will force thousands of small business owners to close there doors! These kids are already doing illegal things by vaping...make the parents responsible!
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    I will not vote for anyone that is against vaping
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    No Mr. Pallone we don't want you helping your buddy Cuomo with future tobacco money #MSABLOODMONEY #NotaBOT
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    Banning anything for the sake of keeping it out of children's hands is asinine. So we are to alienate millions of adults across the country because children aren't held accountable for their actions??? Let's not stack statutes upon statutes and enforce the current laws on the books.
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    Taking away a product that helps adults convert from combustibles is not the way to stop teen vaping. Enforce the law as written. Fine offenders. Make the burden be on the parents to discipline their children and not force law-abiding adults to acquiesce to a 'nanny state'. Punishing law-abiding adults due to the illegal actions of teens is a fallacy and definite overreach of government power. There is no reason to remove flavors other than support big tobacco and allow a government assisted takeover of the vaping industry.
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    I agree kids should not be vaping and those that provide it to kids should be punished in the same manner as if they provided a minor with cigarettes or with alcohol. HOWEVER, banning something because let's save the kids is the classic battle cry of ban happy fascists. If you want to solve the problem creating another one by banning vape flavors. Is not the answer. Creating a larger, harder to stop 1920's style prohibition is beyond idiotic and is the simplest answer that wont work to a complex problem. If you are not smart enough to figure that out you don't deserve to be making laws for this country.
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    this bill won't solve the problem and will throw adult smokers who need a safer alternative under the bus. Smoking kills 480k Americans every year. keeping flavored vapes products on the market for adult smokers has and will continue to put a big dent in that number.
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    This bill will kill 1000s of jobs and shutter 1000s of mom and pop stores mine being one of them.vaping saves lives I smoked 35 years vaping was the only thing that got me off cigarettes
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    This bill is not the answer to the problem. It will take away a safer alternative to combustible cigarettes for the adult smokers that e cigarettes are intended for. These kids will continue to vape without the flavors because they are not doing it for taste. I didn't start smoking at 12 for taste! These kids are doing it for the nicotine high they're getting from high nic in the eliquid. My son is 12 and he told me the kids at school call it a "happy pill". Cap the nicotine content at 24mg. Stiff legal penalties for minor posession of tobacco products and e cigarettes would be highly effective. As a mother myself, I'd rather see my child spend a week in juvie than develop the addiction I have. Do not punish the adults who's lives are being saved by this 95% less harmful alternative. Flavors must stay. You would not give an alcoholic an alcohol free beer and expect them to quit drinking. If you leave adults with only tobacco flavored e liquid, you're doing the exact same thing. There are 13+ million adults who vape in the US. And we vote.
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    Taking away freedom of choice from adults for an adult product will do nothing to curb youth use!
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    Vaping is proven by the royal college of physicians to be NO LESS thank 95% safer than combustible tobacco. I CANNOT believe we have to fight for a safer alternative. The CDC has blood on their hands due to lack of reporting the lung illnesses are being cause by black market THC cartomizers. What I would like to see is a cap on nicotine strength and the removal of all vapor products from convenience stores. There lies the underage epidemic.
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    Taking freedoms away from law-abiding citizens to correct a failure to enforce the laws already on the books is preposterous! There are already laws in place place to protect teens from getting vaping products. Until lawmakers do their part there should never be another rule enacted.
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    Part of the privilege of being an adult is getting to decide what you want to put in your body. Parents should be monitoring and dealing with their children’s behavior, or suffering the consequences for their lack of action, just like they do with every other age gated industry’s products. It is not the vaping industry’s fault or responsibility to keep your children safe from adult items- that is YOUR job, so YOU do it. It is not the government’s right or responsibility to take life saving products away from adults, especially not when there is so much evidence that this is being done for money and not for the actual purposes stated. I’m all for restricting who can sell these products like they do with liquor and the like, but taking it away from adults is just going to result in one heck of a black market and a surge in injuries from homemade juice. PROHIBITION NEVER WORKS.
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    If we are saying the only reason we are banning flavors is because they hook children, I should see legislation soon concerning alcohol as well? Alcohol is more used by youth than any other product.
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