Vaping bill resurfaces in Washington, with help from Sen. Romney

Feb 1, 2024, 10:59 AM

FILE: Members of Utah Vapers gather before attending a meeting about e-cigarettes at the Capitol in...

FILE: Members of Utah Vapers gather before attending a meeting about e-cigarettes at the Capitol in Salt Lake City. Youth vaping is back in the national spotlight with a bi-partisan bill with support from Sen. Mitt Romney. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)

(Ravell Call, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Youth vaping is back in the national spotlight with a bi-partisan bill that has support from Sen. Mitt Romney.

Romney and four other senators want e-cigarette manufacturers to pay fees to the FDA. It’s an attempt to create more industry oversight and is similar to rules in place for tobacco companies in the United States.

The Resources to Prevent Youth Vaping Act would tighten a loophole in the law that governs tobacco companies. Under the law, e-cigarette companies would be required to pay the FDA a user fee.

The money would increase oversight within the vaping industry. Consequently, fees paid by e-cigarette companies to the FDA would fund public education campaigns, similar to the fees tobacco companies pay. 

Are public education campaigns about vaping needed?

Data from the American Lung Association shows that 20% of American youth use e-cigarettes. That number is up 135% from 2022.

Bill co-sponsor Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, likens e-cigarette use in America to an epidemic that exploits American kids.

Sen. Romney is also concerned about illegal vaping products.

“Illicit vaping products—over 90% of which come from China—have flooded the United States vaping market,” Romney said in a statement. “Most concerning is that these Chinese products target young people with flavors such as blue cotton candy and pink lemonade and are designed to deliver stronger nicotine levels at a higher volume.”

Authorizing the FDA to collect user fees on e-cigarettes would help efforts to ease the crisis, according to Romney. Additionally, the senator said it would protect children from the addictive and illicit products. 

Similar legislation was introduced in 2021, but it didn’t make it out of committee.

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Vaping bill resurfaces in Washington, with help from Sen. Romney