Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick goes after e-cigarettes

(Left) Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (

The Food and Drug Administration says Big Tobacco companies like Juul may have played a “disproportionate” role  in the rise in teen vaping.

 Submitted by Miami Times, Staff Report

Proposed legislation was introduced in the U.S. House last week that advocates say would protect children from flavored, disposable e-cigarettes designed to hook youngsters on nicotine for life.

U.S. Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (D-Fla.) introduced a bill that would close a legal loophole created by the Trump administration that allows for the sale of flavored e-cigarettes if the delivery device is disposable.

The use of disposable e-cigarettes among young people, also known as vaping, is on the rise in America, exposing youngsters to poisonous nicotine and other toxic chemicals, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those chemicals are highly addictive and can harm adolescent brain development, which continues into the early to mid-20s, experts say.

“Too many of our youth are forming nicotine addictions, increasing their risk of future addiction to other drugs,” Cherfilus-McCormick said in a news release. “I am even more troubledby the fact that Chinese manufacturers and suppliers are flooding the U.S. market with unregulated, harmful substances that are altering our children’s brain development and lives.

“As the mother of two children and a former healthcare executive … I am calling on the Biden administration to close this harmful loophole for the sake of our youth and to put an end to this national epidemic.”

The bill, known as HR 901, was referred last week to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce for review and consideration.

In 2020, the Trump administration prohibited the sale of flavored e-cigarettes such as fruity pebbles and bubble gum, but only for e-cigarettes that required a cartridge refill, not for disposable devices, Cherfilus-McCormick said. This, according to her, effectively allowed cigarette companies to sell disposable versions of e-cigarettes with the same flavors.

According to the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration, disposable e-cigarettes are the device most used by youth. That number has skyrocketed since the loophole was created by the Trump administration loophole and is causing a public health crisis among children, Cherfilus-McCormick said.

About 1,750 Florida youth under age 18 become daily smokers each year, according to Toll of Tobacco in Florida, a health advocacy group. About 270,000 of them ultimately will die prematurely from smoking, the organization said.

In 2015, Broward County, which is in Cherfilus-McCormick’s district, banned the use of e-cigarettes in county facilities. However, since flavored disposable e-cigarettes are still available under federal law, they can be sold outside the city limits and made readily available to children in Broward.

Cherfilus-McCormick said about 1 in 6 Broward youth use e-cigarettes. To counter this epidemic, Broward County Public Schools developed a tiered curriculum structure for students to provide greater awareness regarding prevention and intervention resources.

The American Heart Association and other public health advocates support the proposed legislation.

“Big Tobacco has been successfully manipulating loopholes such as this one in its ongoing attempts to hook youth and adults to its harmful products,” said Mark Schoeberl, an American Heart Association vice president in a written statement. “The American Heart Association appreciates Rep. Cherfilus-McCormick’s leadership to close the disposable e-cigarette loophole, which has kept dangerous products with kid-friendly flavors on the market and easily accessible to our nation’s youth.”

About Carma Henry 21575 Articles
Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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