The U.S. House of Representatives passed a ban on flavored vapor and tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes, on Friday, reports The Hill.
Sponsored by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. and Representative Donna Shalala, the legislation aims to curb the rise of youth vaping rates by banning nontobacco flavors such as mint and mango that public health experts say lure children into smoking.
Democrats hope to pass the bill to present a contrast to the Trump administration’s approach to youth vaping rates. The Food and Drug Administration began enforcing a limited ban earlier this month on flavored pod-products with exemptions for menthol and tobacco flavors. It also exempted open-tank and disposable e-cigarettes.
Leading public health groups, including the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association and the American Lung Association, argue the bans represent the best way to tamp down rising youth vaping rates.
“This legislation is exactly what’s needed to reverse the youth e-cigarette epidemic and end the tobacco industry’s long and lethal history of targeting kids and other vulnerable groups with flavored products,” said Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
The Senate is unlikely to consider the bill, however, and President Donald Trump’s advisers said Thursday they would recommend he veto it in its current form.
While most Democrats supported the measure, some voted against the bill, worrying it could give police a way to target African Americans. Menthol cigarettes are disproportionately used by African Americans.
“Law enforcement would have an additional reason to stop and frisk menthol tobacco users because menthol would be considered illegal under this ban,” said Representative Yvette Clarke, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus.
She also took issue with the fact that the bill exempts premium cigars favored by white people but took aim at products used by black people.