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Dingell Votes for Bill to Tackle Youth Tobacco Epidemic

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI) voted for comprehensive legislation to address the youth tobacco epidemic, which has surged in recent years with the introduction of new tobacco products such as e-cigarettes and vaping products.

In Michigan, a teen received what is considered the first double lung transplant after their lungs were severely damaged by vaping. Doctors at Henry Ford Hospital said the otherwise healthy 17-year-old’s lungs were so damaged, he faced “imminent death” without the transplant.

The Protection American Lungs and Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act of 2020 prohibits all flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, increases the minimum age for purchasing tobacco products to 21, bans all non-face-to-face sales for tobacco products, and protects kids from the marketing of tobacco products.

“In recent years, we’ve seen the use of tobacco products rise among young people and we must take action to respond to the youth tobacco epidemic, which threatens a new generation of young people to a lifetime of nicotine addiction and poor health effects,” said Dingell. “My generation knows firsthand the dangers of tobacco products and the high risks of cancer, asthma, and heart disease. These new products, such as e-cigarettes and vapes, are even more terrifying. This bill is a comprehensive approach and will help us respond to this public health crisis.”

Over the last few years, the use of e-cigarettes has skyrocketed among American middle school and high school students. More than 5.3 million middle school and high school students used e-cigarettes in 2019, an alarming increase of more than 3 million in two years. The recent dramatic rise in the number of middle and high school students using e-cigarettes has reversed the progress that had been made in previous years in the use of tobacco by kids and teenagers.

The bill is supported by nearly 100 groups, including the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Lung Association, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, NAACP, American Academy of Pediatrics, African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council, National Medical Association, Black Women’s Health Imperative, National Black Nurses Association,  National Hispanic Medical Association, Catholic Health Association of the United States, American Public Health Association, National Education Association, Parents Against Vaping e-cigarettes (PAVe), First Focus, Children’s Defense Fund, and American College of Physicians.


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