e-News April 23, 2020
Parents, Caregivers Urged to Use Time Away From Peers to Help Teens Quit E-cigarette Use
Adolescents and teens are spending a lot more time at home while schools are closed, so now may be an ideal time for parents and caregivers to help kids quit using e-cigarettes. Kentucky offers two free programs specifically targeted to teens:
My Life My Quit is a free, confidential quitline for Kentuckians who are 17 or younger, available from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. (ET) seven days a week. To learn more, call 855-891-9989; text START MY QUIT to 855-891-9989; or visit the MyLIfeMyQuit website.
This is Quitting is for people ages 13 to 24 and provides coaching by text message.
Signs that your teenager may be using e-cigarettes include:
Unwillingness to stay at home
Desire for spicy or salty foods
Increased irritability or mood changes
Bifurcated Kentucky E-Cigarette Tax to Become Law in August
The state revenue bill (HB351) adopted by the Kentucky legislature will tax e-cigarette products at $1.50 per pod on closed systems (such as Juul reusable devices for which users can buy pre-filled pods and Puff Bar disposable devices with the pods built in) and 15 percent of the wholesale price on open systems (which users refill with bottled liquid).
Kentucky will join 24 states and the District of Columbia in taxing e-cigarettes when the tax goes into effect August 1st, but it will be one of only a handful of states with a bifurcated tax.
The Coalition had advocated for a 27.5 percent tax on all types of e-cigarettes, which would have been equivalent to Kentucky's current cigarette tax of $1.10/pack. The concern is that youth, who are particularly price sensitive, will switch to a different e-cigarette product rather than quitting if one type were taxed significantly lower than another.
The new tax will raise the price of a pack of four Juul pods from about $15 to about $21, a 40 percent increase. A Puff Bar, on the other hand, will go from about $9 to $10.50, a 17 percent increase. The prices of open system devices and e-liquids vary significantly, and currently are not as popular among youth as closed systems.
State Tobacco Prevention/Cessation Budget Slashed
The COVID-19 pandemic created a very different backdrop than expected for finalizing the state budget. Dramatic declines in predicted revenues and the critical need to fund Kentucky's response to the pandemic caused many programs to be cut in the one-year budget passed by the legislature. One of the many casualties was funding for the Kentucky Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program. Slashed 40 percent in 2021, the cut likely means a reduction in tobacco control specialists at local health departments. The legislature passed only a one-year budget, and the Coalition remains hopeful that the funding for prevention and cessation of tobacco products will be increased in 2022 or even sooner.
Big Tobacco Sues to Stop Graphic Warnings on Cigarettes
The tobacco industry continues its campaign to prevent graphic warnings like those below on cigarette packs and advertising. The new, full-color graphic warnings are intended to replace text-only warnings that have not been updated since 1965.
The graphic warnings are required under a final rule the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published on March 17, but aren't scheduled to appear until June 2021. The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which became law in June 2009, required the FDA to promulgate the graphic warnings rule, but it has been delayed time and again.
On April 3, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co., ITG Brands, Liggett Group and five tobacco retailers filed a lawsuit against the FDA seeking to invalidate the FDA rule and the underlying law.
E-Cig Companies Get Another Four Months to File for Permission to Continue Selling Products
A federal court has granted the FDA's request to delay until Sept. 9, 2020, the deadline for e-cigarette companies to file what's called a "pre-market review" application so they can continue to sell their products in the United States. The FDA said it was seeking the 120-day extension "solely because of the coronavirus outbreak and would not do so but for these highly unusual circumstances." The previous deadline of May 12, 2020, was established by a U.S. District Court in July 2019. Once e-cigarette manufacturers submit completed applications, the FDA will review them to determine whether the products pose too great a risk for public health. Meanwhile, they can continue to be sold in the country.
Partners and Member Events
American Cancer Society Study: JUUL Sales Recovered Within Weeks of Self-Ban on Vaping Flavors
Researchers from the American Cancer Society (ACS) found that sales by e-cigarette maker JUUL bounced back from a dip within weeks after it removed most of its flavored products from stores. In fact, sales went on to rise even higher than they were before that change was made, as buyers switched to menthol, mint, or tobacco flavors that were still in stores.
"Our study shows when exceptions to regulatory policies are made, the market will fill the void," said Alex Liber, a senior fellow at ACS. "The growth of fruit-flavored sales experienced by NJOY once JUUL stopped selling mango-flavored e-cigarettes is a striking indication of that happening. If governments exempt some e-cigarettes from a flavor regulation and not others - for example if governments exempt disposable or "open system" e-cigarettes from prohibitions on selling flavored products - we might expect consumer demand for flavored products to migrate to those types of products."
See more on the ACS study here.
Kentucky Cigarette Sales Up Significantly in March
Tax revenue from cigarette sales rose 52.5 percent in March, as wholesalers increased their purchases "in reaction to immediate demand and to prepare for potential supply contingencies," according to the Office the State Budget Director of Kentucky. See more here.
Members/Partners in the News
Tobacco, vaping industries seize opportunities in coronavirus with freebies, donations Governor Expected to Sign Bill Taxing E-Cigarette, Vape Products What You Need to Know About Smoking, Vaping and COVID-19
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