Congressman DeSaulnier Announces Legislation to Immediately Halt the Sale of E-Cigarettes Nationwide

November 6, 2019
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, on the heels of the failed effort to repeal San Francisco’s e-cigarette ban, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) announced the introduction of the Preventing Vape Use Act, a bill to immediately halt the sale of all e-cigarettes nationwide until they undergo a pre-market review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The NIH reports that more than 3.6 million children used e-cigarettes in 2018 alone.

“For nearly a decade, the FDA has allowed e-cigarettes to go largely unregulated, setting the stage for today’s epidemic of e-cigarette use. While escaping regulation, the industry profited off the backs of those teens to the tune of $7 billion in annual sales. With more than 1,300 people having gotten sick with vaping-related lung injuries this year, we owe it to our children to hold these companies accountable and stop the sale of these devices until the FDA can certify that they are safe,” said Congressman DeSaulnier.

Cities across the country, including Richmond and San Francisco, California, have already passed ordinances banning the sale of e-cigarettes pending their review by the FDA. The Preventing Vape Use Act goes one step further by requiring that companies producing these products issue recall notices, effectively warning the public of the dangers of e-cigarettes.

“I want to applaud Congressman DeSaulnier for his vision and courage in the face of the FDA’s failure,” said San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, who co-authored that city’s sales moratorium on e-cigarettes that haven’t undergone FDA review, the first in the country. “Inexplicably, the FDA hasn’t reviewed the public health impacts of e-cigarettes as the law requires before they’re on store shelves. Youth vaping is an epidemic in our country, and we need to act before another generation of children is addicted to nicotine. That’s why San Francisco decided earlier this year not to allow e-cigarettes to be sold in our city until the FDA does its job and can assure us they are safe. Extending it to the whole country just makes sense. All kids deserve that protection.”

“I want to thank Congressman DeSaulnier for pushing to pull e-cigarettes from the shelves. We passed a prohibition on e-cigarettes here in San Francisco because of the number of young people—as young as middle school—becoming addicted to nicotine, the fact that the FDA had not approved how they should be marketed and because of the negative health effects of the product. It is now great to see more municipalities and leadership at the federal level come together to keep harmful products off the market. As we continue to learn more about the health impacts associated with e-cigarettes, now is the time to protect the public with appropriate legislation to keep these products off the shelves. As the co-author (along with City Attorney Dennis Herrera) of the prohibition on e-cigarettes here in San Francisco, I stand firmly behind Congressman DeSaulnier’s proposed legislation,” said San Francisco Supervisor Shamann Walton.

“Richmond was the first city in California to adopt “Health in All Policies,” based on the idea that health starts with where people live, work, learn, and play, and that community health is influenced by more than individual choices. One’s physical and social environments, along with local government decisions and actions that shape these environments, have an impact on health outcomes. Richmond has already earned an “A,” the highest grade, from the American Lung Association for tobacco control. Earlier this year, Richmond banned the sale of flavored tobacco products. When young people across the country started to become sick and die from vaping, it was a natural step for the progressive Richmond City Council to move to ban all e-cigarette sales until they are proven safe. For me, tobacco control legislation has also been personal. Both my parents died from tobacco-related diseases,” said Richmond Mayor Tom Butt.

“We are grateful to Rep. Mark DeSaulnier for his introduction of the Preventing Vape Use Act to remove all electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) products from the market until they have gone through FDA’s full review process and received approval. PAVe, a national grassroots advocacy group founded by concerned moms as a response to the youth vaping epidemic, applauds Congressman DeSaulnier for his intense focus on this issue and appreciates Congressman DeSaulnier’s practical approach to keeping all of us, especially our kids, safe from the dangers of e-cigs that are not fully regulated and that contain a potentially harmful mix of both known and unknown toxins,” said Meredith Berkman co-founder of Parents Against Vaping E-cigarettes (PAVe).

“Congressman DeSaulnier’s legislation is vital to protect the public from the vaping-associated lung illnesses sweeping the nation. These dangerous products are sold in flavors that are meant to appeal to teens and the lack of proper safety controls is putting kids at risk. In the wake of the 19 recent vaping-related deaths and more than 1,000 documented cases of vaping-related illnesses, it is simple common sense to have the FDA review all products on the market today,” said David H. Aizuss M.D., President of the California Medical Association.

“Vaping products have caused enough damage, killing dozens, hospitalizing thousands and addicting an untold number of our nation’s youth. It’s time to remove them from our shelves until they are deemed safe,” said Joel J. Africk, President and CEO of the Respiratory Health Association.   

Congressman DeSaulnier is a member of the Congressional Caucus to End the Youth Vaping Epidemic and is a long-time advocate of policies to reduce the public health impacts of tobacco products. As Mayor Concord, California, DeSaulnier helped enact one of the nation’s first efforts to curb secondhand smoke in public places.