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Mike Bloomberg Calls for Ban on All Flavored E-Cigarettes, Releases Plan to Protect Kids from the Dangers of Tobacco Products

January 15, 2020

Bloomberg Releases New Digital Ad Highlighting President Trump’s Broken Promise to Ban Flavored E-Cigarettes

NEW YORK, NEW YORK — Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg outlined his plan today to protect kids from tobacco companies that ruthlessly develop, sell, and market products designed to hook children on nicotine and tobacco from an early age. With more than 5 million middle- and high-schoolers reporting using e-cigarettes in 2019 — the vast majority of whom use kid-friendly flavors — the plan’s central element is prohibiting the sale of all flavored tobacco products. Additional steps include lowering the amount of nicotine in tobacco products to make them less addictive and raising the federal tax on cigarettes by $1 per pack.

The Trump administration, bowing to pressure from the tobacco industry as well as political pressure, has broken its promise to remove all flavored e-cigarettes from the market. The administration’s decision has significant health implications for kids. E-cigarettes contain extremely high levels of nicotine — one JUUL pod contains as much nicotine as 20 traditional cigarettes — and exposure to nicotine, which is highly addictive, can have significant repercussions for kids’ brain development. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, nicotine use during adolescence can harm parts of the brain that affect memory and learning, permanently lower kids’ impulse control, and make them more likely to take risks that impact their health and safety. Moreover, addiction to nicotine at an early age increases the likelihood that youth e-cigarette users will also use traditional cigarettes, which remain the number one cause of preventable disease and death in the U.S. Nearly half a million people die of tobacco-related causes every year.

The United States has witnessed a dramatic and alarming increase in youth use of e-cigarettes in recent years, which threatens to reverse decades of progress toward keeping tobacco products away from children. Today, more than 1 in 4 high school students and more than 1 in 10 middle school students use e-cigarettes, with the vast majority (97 percent) reporting that they use flavored products. More than 15,000 unique e-cigarette flavors have been identified.

“President Trump has mastered the art of the broken promise — on issues from health care to gun safety — and e-cigarettes have been no exception. Trump promised to remove flavored e-cigarettes from the market back in September, but instead he has bent over backwards to protect the tobacco lobby’s profits,” said Mike Bloomberg. “We need a leader who will stand up to the industry and protect our children’s health. I’ve done that throughout my career, and I will do it in the White House as president.”

MIKE’S RECORD

As both a mayor and a philanthropist, Mike Bloomberg has led the charge against tobacco companies and their dangerous products in the United States and around the world.

As mayor of New York City, Mike introduced and spearheaded the passage of the New York City Smoke-Free Air Act, a landmark law under which NYC became one of the first municipalities in the United States to ensure smoke-free restaurants and bars. Critics predicted it would spell the end of the New York City’s restaurant and tourism industries. Instead, the law and subsequent tobacco control measures — including higher cigarette taxes, free nicotine patches, and smoke-free advertising campaigns — prevented 10,000 premature deaths over a decade and contributed to a three-year increase in average life expectancy in NYC, which outpaced national trends. Moreover, contrary to critics’ claims, New York City’s hospitality industry flourished during that time, growing by more than 6,000 new restaurants and bars. Mike’s leadership on smoke-free air helped spark a national movement; today, more than 22,000 municipalities representing more than 80 percent of the U.S. population are covered by state or local smoke-free air laws.

As a result of Mike’s groundbreaking and comprehensive approach to tobacco prevention policies during his time as Mayor of New York City:

  • New York City’s adult smoking rate dropped from 21.5% in 2002 to 16% in 2013, a 26 percent decline;
  • Smoking among New York City public high school students dropped from 17.6% in 2001 to 8.5% in 2013, a 52 percent decline;
  • Hospitalization rates for smoking-related illnesses in New York City declined 21% from 2000 to 2010;
  • There were over 350,000 fewer smokers in New York City in 2013 than in 2002.

Since 2007, Mike Bloomberg has committed more than $1 billion to combat tobacco use worldwide, which is projected to save 35 million lives worldwide. The Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use has reduced tobacco use in low-and middle-income countries through proven policies like creating smoke-free public places, banning tobacco advertising, increasing taxes on tobacco products, requiring graphic pack warnings and supporting hard-hitting mass media campaigns.

MIKE’S PLAN

    Bloomberg will ensure that we don’t lose another generation of kids to nicotine addiction. He will:

  • Direct the FDA to prohibit the sale of all flavored e-cigarettes, as well as all menthol-flavored tobacco products. He will also direct the FDA to speed up its review of e-cigarettes.
  • Push to reduce the amount of nicotine in traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and other tobacco products to non-addictive levels.
  • Discourage tobacco use. Boost the federal cigarette tax by $1 per pack; raise taxes on cigars, smokeless tobacco, and pipe tobacco to put them on par with cigarettes.
  • Make it easier for smokers to quit. Ensure health insurance companies cover counseling and cessation medicines for smokers trying to quit—without copays, prior authorization requirements, or limits on duration of treatment. Require the FDA to expedite the approval of improved smoking-cessation products through its Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.
  • Get the facts. Restore and increase funding for data collection on smoking and vaping in the U.S. Although the CDC regularly investigates youth tobacco use, the agency has not conducted a tobacco-specific survey of U.S. adults since 2013.

ADDITIONAL QUOTES
Henry Waxman, former California congressman and author of the landmark Tobacco Control Act of 2009:

“The vaping epidemic with kids could have been avoided. The flavors in the e-cigarettes made the products attractive to them, and the nicotine is there to addict them when they use the product. The first thing we need to do is to ban flavors in e-cigarettes and other tobacco products. These vaping products are harmful and should not be permitted to be sold at all to kids. I applaud Mayor Bloomberg’s leadership on this issue over many years. He is a doer and will work across the aisle to make sure all tobacco products are properly regulated — from day one.”

Meredith Berkman, co-founder of PAVe (Parents Against Vaping e-cigarettes), a grassroots response to the most serious adolescent public-health crisis our country has faced in decades:

“Vaping is the most serious adolescent public-health crisis our country has faced in decades. As a national grassroots volunteer organization committed to protecting kids from Big Tobacco, we hear from parents every day whose teens are struggling with severe nicotine addiction caused by flavored e-cigarettes. Companies like JUUL and its many copycats – including flavored disposable e-cigarettes, current teen favorites, have used sweet and minty flavors, along with targeted social-media marketing, to convince millions of young people to purchase their highly-addictive e-cigarettes. In fact, 97% of kids who use e-cigarettes are using flavored vaping products.

We agree with Mike’s aggressive anti-e-cigarette position — especially a ban on all e-cigarette flavors including Menthol, a flavor left out of FDA’s current guidance — because he is prioritizing kids’ public health and boldly taking on Big Tobacco, as he has done for decades. Mike understands we must take action immediately to slow the explosive rate of growth of the raging youth vaping epidemic and keep younger kids from starting.”

Dorian Fuhrman, co-founder of PAVe, Parents Against Vaping e-cigarettes, a grassroots response to the most serious adolescent public-health crisis our country has faced in decades:

“The fruity and minty flavors of e-cigarette products make kids believe that vaping is harmless. Unfortunately, this is by design: e-cigarettes are flavored, hide in plain sight, and have been marketed directly to kids on social media.

This has led, in large part, to the current youth vaping epidemic. E-cigarettes are dangerous! They are highly addictive and incredibly harmful to an adolescent’s developing brain. The data is clear that the use of e-cigarettes in adolescents can cause anxiety, depression, mood disorders, and cause permanent cognitive change to an adolescent’s developing brain and create pathways for further addiction. Additionally, kids who vape are four times more likely to smoke combustible cigarettes.

As a mom, and cofounder of this national grassroots parents volunteer organization focused on reversing the youth vaping epidemic, I am extremely concerned.

My son was introduced to these products in 8th grade. He assumed they were safe. But, they’re not. He now advocates to prevent other kids from vaping. Mike Bloomberg has been fighting the tobacco companies for more than a decade and supports a full ban of flavored e-cigarettes. We are extremely grateful to him for his pledge to protect kids from these predatory companies. Mike understands that we need to fight Big Tobacco for all our sons and daughters and take action immediately!”

Jonathan Samet, Dean and Professor, Colorado School of Public Health:

“With a public health crisis from youth vaping, I am in favor of immediate action to protect our youth. The FDA took jurisdiction over e-cigarettes in 2016, but action at the national level seems to have stalled. Communities can take steps to protect our young. E-cigarettes have proved to be dangerous to youth and young adults. They deliver one of the most addictive drugs there is — nicotine. Action is needed now. I know that the Administration has talked about dealing with these products, but not enough has been done quickly enough. Kids are getting addicted and sick. There’s no excuse for inaction.

Mike Bloomberg has said he wants these products banned until we understand why they are so problematic. That’s common sense public health. Mike also says he’ll subject e-cigarettes to the same advertising rules and limits that apply to regular cigarettes — more common sense. We need leadership that will put human lives over special interests, like the vaping industry.”

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MIKE BLOOMBERG’S PLAN TO PROTECT KIDS FROM TOBACCO COMPANIES AND TOBACCO PRODUCTS

FACT SHEET

There is a Youth E-Cigarette Epidemic in the United States

According to the CDC’s 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey, 5.4 million middle and high school students report using e-cigarettes, an increase of more than three million kids from 2017. That includes 27.5%of all high school students and more than 10%of all middle school students. Teen smoking rates in the United States have declined by about 70%over the past two decades, but the spike in e-cigarette usage among kids is threatening to undo a generation’s worth of progress. Despite these alarming numbers, America’s $7 billion e-cigarette industry remains largely unregulated.

E-cigarettes pose major health risks for kids. A 2018 Surgeon General’s Advisory said that e-cigarette use among kids can cause long-term harm to brain development, which can affect their memory, learning, and attention spans. The high quantities of nicotine included in e-cigarettes — one JUUL pod contains as much nicotine as 20 cigarettes — can also increase the risk of kids smoking traditional cigarettes as well. Smoking is the number one cause of preventable disease and death in the U.S. Each year, nearly half a million people die of tobacco-related causes.

Mike Bloomberg’s record of taking on the tobacco industry and saving millions of lives from dangerous tobacco products is second to none. As mayor of New York City and as a philanthropist, Mike has pursued evidence-based policies that have kept tobacco products away from our kids and helped smokers quit. This has resulted in people living longer and healthier lives and saving billions of dollars in healthcare costs. He will pursue the same kinds of policies as president.

THE PLAN

Mike will direct the FDA to speed up its review of e-cigarettes.

  • Ban all e-cigarette flavors — including menthol — immediately, and ensure
    e-cigarettes are subjected to the same advertising rules and limits that apply to regular cigarettes.
  • Restore the agency’s effort to lower nicotine in e-cigarettes, cigarettes and other
    tobacco products to non-addictive levels.

Mike will discourage future tobacco use.

  • Raise the federal tax on cigarettes by $1 per pack and index it to inflation.
  • Set taxes on cigars, smokeless tobacco and other products at the same rate as taxes on cigarettes.

Mike will fund data collection on smoking and vaping to assess the full scope of America’s tobacco use.

  • Although the CDC regularly investigates youth tobacco use, the agency has not conducted a tobacco-specific survey of U.S. adults since 2013.

Mike will make it easier for smokers to quit.

  • Enforce the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that health insurance cover counseling and cessation medicines – without copays, prior authorization requirements, or limits on duration of treatment.
  • Expedite FDA approval of improved smoking-cessation products.

THE ISSUE

  • Flavors are driving the youth e-cigarette epidemic — nearly all kids (97%) who use e-cigarettes use the flavored varieties; 70% of kids say flavors drew them to e-cigarettes in the first place. There are more than 15,000 unique e-cigarette flavors.
  • Donald Trump broke his promise to clear the market of all flavored e-cigarettes. Under the FDA’s recent guidance, menthol-flavored and other types of e-cigarettes will remain on the market, and easily accessible to kids.
  • Nearly 9 out of 10 middle and high school students (22.9 million) report exposure to advertisements for tobacco products.
  • Nearly 70% of middle and high school students who report exposure to advertisements for tobacco products report exposure to e-cigarette marketing specifically.

MIKE’S RECORD—NYC

  • As mayor of New York City, Mike introduced and spearheaded the passage of the New York City Smoke-Free Air Act, a landmark law under which NYC became one of the first municipalities in the U.S.to ensure smoke-free restaurants and bars.
  • The law and subsequent tobacco control measures — including higher cigarette taxes, free nicotine patches, and smoke-free advertising campaigns — prevented 10,000 premature deaths over a decade and contributed to a three-year increase in average life expectancy in NYC, which outpaced national trends.
  • Contrary to critics’ predictions, New York City’s hospitality industry flourished during that time, growing by more than 6,000 new restaurants and bars.
  • Mike’s leadership on smoke-free air helped spark a national movement; today, more than 22,000 municipalities representing more than 80% of the U.S. population are covered by state or local smoke-free air laws.

As a result of Mike’s groundbreaking and comprehensive approach to tobacco prevention policies during his time as Mayor of New York City:

  • New York City’s adult smoking rate dropped from 21.5% in 2002 to 16% in 2012, a 26% decline.
  • Smoking among New York City public high school students dropped from 17.6% in 2001 to 8.5% in 2013, a 52% decline.
  • Hospitalization rates for smoking-related illnesses in New York City declined 21% from 2000 to 2010.
  • There were over 350,000 fewer smokers in New York City in 2013 than in 2002.

MIKE’S RECORD – NATIONAL

  • Since 2007, Mike Bloomberg has committed more than $1 billion since 2007 to combat tobacco use worldwide.
  • The Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use has reduced tobacco use in low-and middle-income through proven policies such as creating smoke-free public places, banning tobacco advertising, increasing taxes on tobacco products, requiring graphic pack warnings and supporting hard-hitting mass media campaigns.
  • According to WHO, the number of smoke-free countries has increased from 10 to 62 since 2007. About 5 billion people — 65% of the world’s population — are covered by at least one comprehensive tobacco control measure according to WHO. This is up from 1 billion people or 15% of the population covered in 2007, representing a 5-fold increase. Strong graphic pack warnings are in place for 3.9 billion people in 91 countries—almost half of the global population (52%).
  • In September 2019, Mike Bloomberg launched a $160 million initiative to end the youth e-cigarette epidemic in the U.S.
  • Protect Kids: Fight Flavored E-Cigarettes works to get all flavored e-cigarettes off the market and stop Juul and other e-cigarette companies from marketing their products to children.
  • Since the launch of the program: Massachusetts became the first state to prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco products — including all flavored e-cigarettes. New Jersey just passed legislation to prohibit the sale of all flavored e-cigarettes. NYC became the largest city to take all flavored e-cigarettes off the market. Major cities from Los Angeles to Washington DC are moving forward on similar
    bills. Several states have issued emergency orders to suspend sales of flavored e-cigarettes.

TRUMP
On September 10, 2019, Mike Bloomberg announced a $160-million campaign to ban flavored e-cigarettes, seeking to end what the American Medical Association has called an “urgent public health epidemic.” The next day, President Trump, HHS Sec. Alex Azar and Acting Commissioner of the FDA, Ned Sharpless, claimed in an oval office photo-op that the administration would ban all flavored e-cigarette and vaping products. In a press release issued on New Year’s Eve, 2019, the Trump Administration broke their promise, putting forth new FDA rules on flavored e-cigarettes that leave flavored products on the market, where they can still be abused by children.

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