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Congressman Thomas Suozzi

Representing the 3rd District of New York

Suozzi Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Address the Vaping and Smoking Epidemic

September 19, 2019
Press Release
New bill would ban flavored e-cigarettes, raise tobacco taxes, establish equivalent tax on e-cigarettes, and increase resources available to those who want to quit smoking (the #1 cause of premature death)

Today, Congressman Tom Suozzi (D-Long Island, Queens) introduced the Quell Underage Inhaling of Toxic Substances (QUITS) Act. The lead Republican sponsor is Suozzi’s Long Island colleague Congressman Peter King (R-NY). The QUITS Act would:

  • Ban flavored e-cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products
  • Increase the federal tax on cigarettes from $1 per pack to $3 per pack
  • Create a tax on e-cigarette products equivalent to $3 per pack
  • Increase annual funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Office on Smoking and Health from $210 million to $500 million

 

“Since I served as Nassau County Executive, I have worked to address the fact that smoking is the number one cause of preventable deaths. I’ve been increasingly concerned by the number of teenagers who use and are becoming addicted to e-cigarettes. I’ve become even more disturbed in recent weeks since we’ve learned that hundreds of people have contracted a mysterious vaping-related lung disease that has killed at least seven people,” said Congressman Suozzi. “That is why I am introducing the QUITS Act, which will discourage people from smoking and vaping and get toxic tobacco products out of the hands of young people”

“Every year, tobacco smoking kills half a million Americans and creates hundreds of billions of dollars in health care costs and productivity losses,” said Suozzi. “In New York State, we have the highest cigarette taxes in the country, and as a result, our smoking and cancer rates are some of the lowest in the country. We can improve health outcomes across the United States.”

“Too often our children and adolescents are being exposed to the dangers of nicotine addiction,” said Congressman King. “It is imperative that Congress explore means to end this epidemic and ensure the well-being of our youth. I am proud to work with Rep. Suozzi in this effort.”

 

The bipartisan QUITS ACT is supported by a number of public health advocacy groups including:

  • Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
  • American Heart Association
  • American Lung Association
  • American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
  • Parents Against Vaping e-Cigarettes
  • Action on Smoking & Health

 

Statements in Support of the QUITS Act

 

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

“The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids strongly supports the QUITS Act introduced today to curb the worsening youth e-cigarette epidemic and reduce youth tobacco use, and we commend Congressman Suozzi for his leadership in introducing this bill. This bill would make an enormous difference in reducing youth tobacco use by raising tobacco taxes, prohibiting flavored tobacco products and authorizing additional funding for the CDC’s tobacco prevention programs. These are proven strategies that protect kids and save lives”

– Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

 

American Heart Association

The QUITS Act is an important step in the right direction for reaching an end to tobacco use and nicotine addiction in the United States. We support increasing taxes on cigarettes, which is proven to reduce cigarette consumption. We also support taxing e-cigarettes on par with traditional cigarettes, unless these tobacco products are authorized by FDA and regulated as modified-risk products, and increasing funding for the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health. In addition to increasing the federal tax on nicotine products, this bill would prohibit menthol and other flavors in traditional tobacco products and e-cigarettes – an essential step to prevent youth initiation. We are grateful to Representative Suozzi for taking action to address the terrible impact tobacco use has on our population.”

– Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association

 

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

“It is well-documented that regular tax increases on tobacco products are an effective method to prevent and reduce tobacco use, particularly among youth. Given the dramatic increases we have seen in recent years in youth use of e-cigarettes, we applaud Rep. Suozzi’s introduction of the QUITS Act. Restricting flavored tobacco products, which have been largely responsible for hooking youth, and directing revenue generated through this bill’s new taxes on all tobacco products to the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health (OSH) will aid in efforts to stem the tide on the youth e-cigarette public health crisis and improve the health of the nation.”

– Lisa Lacasse, President of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN)

 

Parents Against Vaping e-Cigarettes

“We are so grateful to Congressman Tom Suozzi for his mission to protect the youth of our country from a lifetime of nicotine addiction. PAVe is a national grassroots advocacy organization founded by three moms in response to the current national youth vaping epidemic, the most serious adolescent public health crisis our country has faced in decades. As such, we are thrilled to support Congressman Tom Suozzi and the QUITS Act. Studies show that 90% of adults who smoke begin, and become addicted, before the age of 18. Studies also show kids are very price sensitive. The tax suggested by this bill would raise the price of e-cigarettes (among other tobacco products) and make it more difficult for our kids to purchase these highly addictive nicotine-delivery devices. Thank you Congressman Suozzi for protecting our kids!”

– Dorian Fuhrman, Meredith Berkman, and Dina Alessi, Founders of Parents Against Vaping e-Cigarettes (PAVe)

 

Action on Smoking & Health

“Tobacco continues to be the world's leading cause of preventable death, accounting for more than one-fifth of all deaths in the United States. While we should aim to get tobacco products off the market entirely, taxes are highly effective at deterring children from starting to use tobacco products and inspiring adults to try to quit. ASH applauds the co-sponsors of this bill and urges its passage. Put simply, it will save lives.”

– Laurent Huber, Executive Director of Action on Smoking & Health

 

Facts About the Smoking and Vaping Epidemic

  • According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids:
    • Tobacco products kill almost 500,000 Americans every year
    • Tobacco products cause over $300 billion in annual health costs and productivity losses
    • Every year, taxpayers bear the burden of smoking-caused government spending to the tune of $936 per household
  • According to the New York State Department of Health:
    • Nearly 40% of high school seniors use e-cigarettes
    • 27% of all high school students use e-cigarettes

 

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