On Friday, October 18, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine will hold a roundtable discussion on efforts to address the epidemic of youth e-cigarette use. The discussion at Montessori Public School of Arlington will include students, teachers, counselors, parents, health experts, and Virginia Secretary of Education Atif Qarni. Kaine will discuss the Tobacco-Free Youth Act, his bipartisan bill to raise the nationwide minimum age to buy all tobacco products from 18 to 21. The bill passed the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee in June.
Kaine has a long track record of promoting public health and battling tobacco use. As Governor of Virginia, Kaine signed a bill into law to ban smoking in bars and restaurants in the Commonwealth, as well as an executive order to ban smoking in state buildings and vehicles. In April 2018, Kaine joined two letters to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and JUUL Labs, Inc. raising concerns about youth access and use of flavored e-cigarettes. In the letter to the FDA, Kaine and his colleagues urged the agency to take immediate steps to ban kid-friendly flavorings that are used in e-cigarettes and cigars. In the letter to Juul Labs, Inc., Kaine and his colleagues asked a series of questions about how the product is marketed to children and teens and what ingredients are in the flavorings that accompany these devices. They requested that the company take a series of important steps to limit youth use of their product.