If passed, new RYTEA bill will eviscerate online vaping sales overnight

As the mainstream media focuses on the aftermath of the release of the Mueller Report, house congressional members are working diligently behind the scenes to kill vaping.  If passed, a newly proposed bill will not only raise the legal smoking and vaping age to 21, it will also ban e-commerce sales on all vapor products and the sales of all flavored e-liquids even in brick-and-mortars.  The bill will also place about $100 million in the coffers of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), cleverly disguised as “user fees.”

Co-sponsored by two House Democrats, Rep. Donna Shalala of Florida and Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey, the proposed legislation is receiving wide support among anti-tobacco lobbyist groups in Washington, DC.  The bill is misleadingly named Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act of 2019 (RYTEA).

Overview of the RYTEA Bill

Shalala and Pallone claim that the bill is designed to address the issue of teen tobacco use in America.  The word “epidemic” in the legislative title is purposeful and mimics the anti-vaping verbiage put forth repeatedly by the former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb for nearly the past two years.

And while the bill calls for bans on the sales of flavored cigars and menthol cigarettes, the majority of the proposal is focused – with laser-like precision – on the American vaping industry.  The Shalala- Pallone bill proposes the following.

  • Prohibits the sales of flavored vape products unless specifically approved by the FDA.
  • Prohibits all online sales of vapor products. The bill specifically states, “…prohibit non-face-to-face sales of all tobacco products including e-cigarettes and e-cigarette accessories.”
  • Grants the FDA legal authority to collect $100 million in user fees from the vapor industry. User fees have been attached to Big Tobacco products for decades.  These fees are supposedly meant to be a sort of reimbursement for the money spent by the FDA for policing the related industry.
  • Orders the FDA to make an official ruling on tobacco and vaping products utilizing synthetic nicotine (nicotine not generated from the tobacco plant).
  • Instructs the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to release a yearly report to congress tracking the domestic sales and promotional activities of the vapor and tobacco products industries.
  • Raises legal age to purchase vaping and/or tobacco products from 18 to 21.

To be clear, the Shalala- Pallone bill is just one of many legislative variations floating around Capital Hill.  Also last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell from Kentucky proposed his own version of anti-vaping legislation that would change the national smoking and vaping age to 21 but forgoes many of the former bill’s more antagonistic prohibitions. 

Related Article:  The McConnel Bill: Making teen vaping a federal crime

Other anti-vaping legislative proposals include  HR 2084, or the SCOTT Act, which attempts to require adult signatures for mail deliveries of vapor products in addition to raising the legal smoke and vaping age.   HR 293, the Youth Vaping Prevention Act of 2019, wants to tax the vapor industry with the same aggressiveness as Big Tobacco.  And The Safe Kids Act proposes a nationwide flavor ban on both vaping and tobacco products. 

According to the congressional press release regarding the Shalala- Pallone bill, prominent anti-vaping groups like the notorious Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and the American Lung Association Association support the proposed legislation.  CEO Nancy Brown of the American Heart Association also offered the following statement.

“Our nation is facing a crisis when it comes to tobacco use among our youth, the data clearly show that e-cigarettes are putting a new generation at risk of addiction to nicotine. In addition to raising the sales age of tobacco to 21, this bill takes essential steps to restrict marketing to youth and remove youth appealing products from the market.”

Ms. Brown’s statement further accuses the vaping industry of “predatory marketing to younger consumers” while supporting new regulations “prohibiting non-face-to-face sales.”  She mentions nothing about the many documented health benefits of vaping and electronic cigarettes for adult smokers trying to quit.

Brown is also intentionally ignoring national statistics indicating that approximately 70 percent of adult smokers trying to quit through a transition to vaping prefer fruit and dessert flavors of e-liquids.  After all, kids aren’t the only ones who like sweet things. 

Related Article:  New vaping study shows flavored e-liquids are crucial to helping smokers quit

(Image courtesy of Shutterstock)

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