Suozzi’s Bipartisan Vaping Bill to Advance through Ways and Means
Today, the House Committee on Ways and Means announced that on Wednesday it will mark up the Protecting American Lungs Act (H.R. 4742), a bipartisan bill introduced by Congressman Tom Suozzi (D-Long Island, Queens) that will tax nicotine absorption from vaping products at the same rate as nicotine from cigarettes. The lead Republican sponsor is Suozzi’s Long Island colleague Congressman Peter King (R-NY).
The revenue generated by this bill will be used to fund a number of important health initiatives, including:
- Requiring certain high deductible health plans (HDHPs) to cover the cost of inhalers used to treat chronic lung diseases like asthma
- Allowing people to use health savings accounts (HSAs) and flexible spending accounts (FSAs) to purchase over-the-counter medications and menstrual care products
The complete bill can be viewed here.
“When I was Nassau County Executive, one of my top priorities was addressing our nation’s smoking epidemic. Now as a Member of Congress, I’m terrified by the number of teenagers who are becoming addicted to nicotine because they vape,” said Suozzi. “Increasing the cost of vaping will have a direct correlation to decreasing the usage of vaping products. 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.”
As of last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed 1,479 cases of lung illness associated with e-cigarette and vaping products, with 33 deaths so far.
“I applaud Chairman Neal and my colleagues on the Ways and Means Committee for acting swiftly and decisively to get vaping products out of the hands of young people. We must address this public health crisis now rather than waiting years to do so, as we did with cigarettes,” said Suozzi. “I look forward to the markup of my bipartisan legislation and hope that it will be passed by the House of Representatives in short order.”
“Today’s development is an important step in ensuring Congress explores a means to end this epidemic and ensure the well-being of our youth,” said King. “I am proud to work with Rep. Suozzi in this effort.”
Since January, Congressman Suozzi has served on the Committee on Ways and Means, the oldest in Congress, which exercises jurisdiction over revenue and related issues. Typically reserved for senior members of Congress, the prestigious committee’s alums include eight Presidents, eight Vice Presidents, 21 Speakers of the House, and four Supreme Court Justices.