By Chris Pirschel, Staff Writer/Producer, and Alec Stone, ONS Public Affairs Director

Does the Vaping Ban Go Far Enough?

Despite restrictive legislation raising the age of purchase for tobacco products to 21, vaping remains a top legislative concern, and some believe that vaping restrictions are already out of date. For nearly two decades, youth smoking rates were on the decline. After e-cigarette companies like Juul brought their products to market, those rates have seen a sharp uptick and led the U.S. surgeon general to declare a youth smoking epidemic. Although some progress has been made, the issue remains a top priority for organizations like ONS and its members.

ONS is hosting a congressional briefing in early March to discuss the nurse’s role in tobacco education and cessation promotion. Nurses must continue to share their stories and educate lawmakers about the potential impact that smoking and vaping has on the public health. As experts in cancer care—and the most trusted profession for 18 years in a row—nurses must lead the cessation conversation. Learn more about vaping awareness with ONS’s Learning Library.

Bipartisan Prescription Drug Bill Could Lower Prices

Drug pricing is still a popular, bipartisan legislative topic, and several congressional leaders have developed proposals to help patients find relief from rising costs. Some life-saving prescription medications have seen more than a 400% jump in cost, and patients are feeling the financial pressure. A new bill from U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) is a sign that talks may be underway again.

In a tense political environment, few experts have hope that the bill will pass. With enough support, constituent pressure, and the right set of circumstances, Trump may sign into law a bill that makes it to his desk with support from both chambers. ONS and its advocates work with federal agencies and elected officials to raise awareness for accessible and affordable medications, educating them on the burden of financial toxicity for patients with cancer.

Trump Proposes New Tobacco Regulation Agency

Congress and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have spent decades enhancing the agency’s jurisdiction over regulation of tobacco products. The Trump administration’s February 10 budget proposal changes that with the formation of a new agency to regulate tobacco. The health and patient advocacy community has watched the Trump administration refuse and even reverse its intentions for curtailing the marketing and distribution of e-cigarettes, flavored tobacco, and vaping mechanisms.

ONS is unclear how the new agency would help, considering most action has come from FDA and Congress so far, but is working with coalition partners to encourage the administration to embrace stronger regulation and more oversight control. Share your voice in the health policy conversation by joining the ONS advocacy effort.