Heart of Health Policy | Snuffing Out Tobacco Use

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The Tobacco-Free Youth Act introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) would raise the nationwide minimum age to buy all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and vaping devices, from 18 to 21. It would also allow states to enact stricter laws if they choose.

The legislation is supported by a broad coalition of medical societies like the ACC and partner cardiovascular societies, as well as public health groups like the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Association for Cancer Research, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America and Trust for America's Health.

A joint coalition letter called the Act "one, among several, important federal policy changes needed to address the public health crisis of tobacco use in the United States, including prohibiting the manufacture and sale of all flavored tobacco products; restricting online sale of all tobacco products, particularly to underage purchasers; and increasing funding of the prevention and cessation activities of the CDC Office on Smoking and Health."

The Tobacco-Free Youth Act joins other recently introduced legislation aimed at curbing youth tobacco use. The Tobacco to 21 Act was introduced last month by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), Sen. Todd Young (R-IN), Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), Rep. Diana Degette (D-CO) and Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT).

Additionally, Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Rep. Donna Shalala (D-FL) recently introduced the Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act of 2019, which would not only raise the federal minimum age to purchase tobacco but also mandate graphic health warnings on cigarette packages and extend the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's regulation of tobacco products, among other provisions.

Tobacco 21 legislation continues to move ahead at the state level as well, with Maryland and Vermont joining the growing number of states with some form of Tobacco 21 legislation enacted into law. New York is likely next, with a bill awaiting signature from the governor.

Legislation making its way through the Connecticut and Texas legislatures also looks positive. Tobacco legislation continues to be a key focus and priority for the College and its state chapters.

Click here to read the joint cardiovascular society letters spearheaded by the ACC thanking members of Congress for supporting the Tobacco Free Youth Act and the Tobacco to 21 Act.

Keywords: ACC Publications, Cardiology Magazine, Health Policy, Tobacco Use, Tobacco Products, Tobacco, Public Health, American Cancer Society, United States Food and Drug Administration, American Heart Association, Physicians, Family, Smoking, Societies, Medical, Pediatrics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S., Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems

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