November 26, 2019
Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) participated in a town hall to discuss the dangers of vaping and provide an update on his legislation to combat the youth tobacco epidemic. He was joined by Harry Carson, former New York Giants Team Captain at the event, local officials and representatives from Hackensack Meridian Health, which launched a $1 million Take Vape Away campaign to combat youth vaping.
According to reports, the sharp increase in tobacco use in recent years could reverse years of progress. Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has confirmed over 2,200 cases of lung injuries and 47 deaths related to vaping illnesses. In New Jersey, there have been 42 confirmed cases of vaping-related illnesses and one confirmed death.
“The proliferation of slick new products with enticing flavors has reversed the historic declines in tobacco use among young people, which is why Congress must respond with bold action to address this public health crisis. The good news is that Congress is taking important steps to respond to the youth tobacco epidemic, which threatens a new generation of young people to a lifetime of nicotine addiction and poor health outcomes,” Congressman Pallone said. “Congressional action also became more important when, earlier this month, President Trump walked away from his promise to prohibit flavors in tobacco products that are so popular with our youth.”
Last week, Pallone’s Energy and Commerce Committee passed his comprehensive legislation to address the youth tobacco epidemic. The Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act would prohibit all flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, increase the minimum age for purchasing tobacco products to 21, ban certain non-face-to-face sales for tobacco products, and protect kids from the marketing of tobacco products.
In September, Pallone’s Committee held an oversight hearing on the public health risks of e-cigarettes with officials from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), CDC, and state health officials. The Committee is also conducting an investigation into electronic cigarette manufacturers.
“As a father and health care executive for 35 years, I am alarmed at the vaping epidemic, especially among our children and believe we must take an aggressive, multi-targeted approach,’’ said Robert C. Garrett, CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health, which organized the event with Congressman Pallone.
“We are seeing patients in our hospitals and physician offices with serious and perhaps lifelong health problems due to vaping, including a 21-year-old woman who spent nearly two weeks in intensive care.’’
The network launched Take Vape Away, a $1 million campaign to combat youth vaping that includes grants to school districts and community groups, an educational program in schools and research conducted at Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University to determine the best approaches to keep youth from vaping.