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Internists Support Bill Reducing Rate of Cigarette Use Among Youth

Statement attributable to:
Robert McLean, MD, FACP
President, American College of Physicians

Washington, DC (May 22, 2019) — The American College of Physicians (ACP)  strongly supports the Tobacco-Free Youth Act, which would raise the nationwide minimum age to buy all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and vaping devices, from 18 to 21. ACP is encouraged that this bill targets a reduction in smoking among our nation’s youth, a segment of the population that is especially vulnerable to developing addiction to tobacco-based products.

As a physician, I know firsthand how the harmful impacts of tobacco products and addiction affects patients and their families. ACP has a long-standing commitment to reducing tobacco use, as well as electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS). ACP’s 2015 policy paper, Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems, highlighted the dangers that ENDS products, including e-cigarettes, present to individuals, particularly minors, and called for a ban on flavored tobacco products, which often attract minors. ACP is especially concerned about the increase in ENDS use among young people, as evidence suggests that adolescents who start using ENDS also use, or intend to use, combustible tobacco products later in life. 

ACP urges Senators not to weaken this legislation with any amendments that would restrict enforcement mechanisms in this bill or provide any benefit to the tobacco industry. It is also imperative that any final legislation not restrict states and localities from passing their own age and other restrictions on purchase of tobacco products that may be more restrictive than that established by this legislation.

We applaud Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) for their leadership and efforts in advancing this important legislation.

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About the American College of Physicians

The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States with members in more than 145 countries worldwide. ACP membership includes 154,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Contact: Julie Hirschhorn, (202) 261-4523, jhirschhorn@acponline.org