MHA Supports Bill to Curb Youth Smoking “Epidemic”

The impressive gains in curbing youth smoking in the U.S. has hit a roadblock, with the recent uptake in tobacco use among kids being labeled an “epidemic” by both the FDA and the U.S. Surgeon General. In response, MHA has joined 16 other health-focused groups urging Congress to pass H.R. 2339 – The Reversing Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act of 2019. 
The bill prohibits the sale of flavored tobacco products that appeal to kids, including flavored e-cigarettes, flavored cigars, and menthol cigarettes. The bill would also raise the age of sale for tobacco products to 21, which would further reduce youth tobacco use, and it would ban the online sales of tobacco products (which often have no age verification requirements). Finally, H.R. 2339 would crack down on the marketing strategies of tobacco companies to prevent them from sponsoring sports, music, and other events.
Youth use of e-cigarettes spiked in 2018, increasing by 78% among high school students and 48% among middle school students in one year alone. In Massachusetts, 20.1% of high school students use e-cigarettes. Over half of youth smokers – and seven in ten African American youth smokers – smoke menthol cigarettes. In Massachusetts, 10.5% of high school boys smoke cigars.