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Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi Introduces the END ENDS (Ending Nicotine Dependence from Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems) Act

October 7, 2019
Press Release
Legislation Establishes a 20 Milligram Nicotine Cap in E-Cigarette E-Liquids

WASHINTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi announced the introduction of the END ENDS Act, legislation that caps e-cigarette nicotine concentrations at 20 milligrams per milliliter to make them significantly less addictive and appealing to youth. Similar nicotine regulations have already been implemented in the United Kingdom, European Union, and Israel, where capping nicotine levels successfully deterred an uptick in youth vaping. For example, while youth e-cigarette use in the United States has skyrocketed by 135% in the last two years to a point where almost 28% of American youth are vaping, less than 5% of U.K. youth are currently vaping.

“As a concerned parent, I am committed to preventing a new generation of nicotine addicts,” said Congressman Krishnamoorthi. “My bill presents a common-sense solution that has already shown success abroad. Capping the concentration of nicotine in e-cigarettes is integral to ending the youth vaping epidemic by making these products less addictive, less appealing to youth, and less harmful to public health. After all, while flavors hook kids, it’s nicotine that nets them and pulls them on the boat into a lifelong vaping habit and addiction.”

“High levels of nicotine and the use of youth-friendly flavors in e-cigarettes have contributed to the massive increase in youth addiction and use of vaping products,” said Joel J. Africk, President and CEO of Respiratory Health Association. “We applaud Congressman Krishnamoorthi for putting a spotlight on the vaping epidemic and taking aggressive steps to remove this pathway to addiction.”

“We are grateful to Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi for introducing the “END ENDS” Act that seeks to counter the shocking rate of growth of the youth vaping epidemic,” said Meredith Berkman and Dorian Fuhrman, Co-Founders of the Parents Against Vaping E-cigarettes (PAVe). “We hear from parents every day whose families’ lives have been upended by this epidemic, the most serious adolescent public-health crisis our country has faced in decades. Teens who were once straight-A students are failing out of school; star athletes no longer have the strength to make it through practice; and even-keeled kids are suddenly exhibiting bouts of extreme anger. These real-life examples are representative of extreme teen nicotine addiction caused by ENDS, including kid-hooking flavored vapes like JUUL that contain enormous amounts of nicotine. In fact, JUUL’s 2015 introduction of a “5.0% nicotine strength” product — along with its patented nicotine-salt technology that delivers nicotine more efficiently to the brain — has created what Dr. Robert Jackler of Stanford has called a “nicotine arms race” as copycat products have created 6% and even 7% nicotine strength products. By capping the amount of nicotine allowed in e-liquids, bringing it back in line with pre-2016 regulations — and with what is currently allowed in countries like the UK, where youth e-cig use has not soared, as it has here — is a practical, reasonable step in the fight against the youth vaping epidemic. Thanks so much to Rep. Krishnamoorthi for his continuing focus and bold leadership on this urgent public-health crisis affecting so many families.”  

The youth vaping epidemic has been fueled by new technology that allows manufacturers to increase the amount of addictive nicotine. E-cigarettes today are significantly more addictive than the e-cigarettes of years past — the most popular e-cigarettes in the United States contain 59 milligrams of nicotine per milliliter. Further, according to the CDC, nicotine exposure prior to age 25 can harm the parts of the brain that control attention, learning, mood, and impulse control, while adolescent nicotine use may also increase one’s risk of future addiction to other drugs.

Specifically, the END ENDS Act would ensure that e-cigarette e-liquids, solutions of nicotine, and other chemical compounds that are heated and inhaled by e-cigarette users, would contain no more than 20 milligrams of nicotine per milliliter. The bill would allow the FDA to lower the cap on nicotine concentration in e-liquids to a minimally addictive or non-addictive level below 20 milligrams per milliliter. And it would encourage the FDA to successfully replicate international efforts to prevent youth from using e-cigarettes, and to examine other ways to regulate the design and function of e-cigarettes to be less appealing to youth.