Statement: Passing the “Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act” is a crucial step to protect U.S. children

Media Contacts
Matt Wellington

Former Director, Public Health Campaigns, PIRG

House of Representatives set to vote Friday on bill to combat youth tobacco addiction


WASHINGTON — In an effort to protect young Americans from the temptations that can lead to a life-long struggle with tobacco addiction, the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on Friday on a bill that would restrict tobacco sales and marketing.

The Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act (H.R. 2339) would end the sale of all flavored tobacco products, restrict online sales of most tobacco products, and place stricter regulations on tobacco marketing practices.

In response, U.S. PIRG’s “End the Nicotine Trap” campaign director Matt Wellington released the following statement:

The tobacco industry has evolved over the decades, but one thing stays the same — it creates highly-addictive, nicotine-laden products and shamelessly markets those products as tasty and attractive to hook kids and turn them into life-long customers. 

Eighty percent of young people who have ever used tobacco started with a flavored product, and young users of e-cigarettes — today’s most popular tobacco product among young people– say the availability of appealing flavors is a primary reason they use the products. That’s why it’s important to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes, flavored vapes, and flavored cigars. 

We support the Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act because it does all that and more. Passing this law would torch the tobacco industry’s playbook for addicting new generations of kids to harmful products. We urge legislators to put kids’ health over an industry hellbent on maintaining business as usual, which for decades has meant hooking children on their dangerous and deadly products.