Vaping Ban; Bipartisan Drug Plan; Tobacco Regulation Agency
Does the Vaping Ban Go Far Enough?
Despite restrictive legislation raising the age of purchase for tobacco products to 21 (https://voice.ons.org/advocacy/legislation-raises-minimum-age-of-sale-for-tobacco-products-to-21), vaping remains a top legislative concern, and some believe that vaping restrictions are already out of date (https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-vaping-ban-is-here-and-its-already-out-of-date/2020/02/07/c73e7c3a-492c-11ea-b4d9-29cc419287eb_story.html). 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 (https://voice.ons.org/advocacy/surgeon-general-declares-youth-vaping-an-epidemic). Although some progress has been made, the issue remains a top priority for organizations like ONS and its members (https://www.ons.org/make-difference/ons-center-advocacy-and-health-policy/position-statements/e-cigarettes-and-vaping).
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 (https://voice.ons.org/stories) and educate lawmakers about the potential impact that smoking and vaping (https://voice.ons.org/stories/providing-expert-testimony-in-the-virginia-state-senate) has on the public health. As experts in cancer care—and the most trusted profession for 18 years in a row (https://voice.ons.org/news-and-views/nurses-most-trusted-profession-for-18-years-in-row)—nurses must lead the cessation conversation. Learn more about vaping awareness with ONS’s Learning Library (https://www.ons.org/learning-libraries/vaping).
Bipartisan Prescription Drug Bill Could Lower Prices
Drug pricing is still a popular, bipartisan legislative topic (https://voice.ons.org/advocacy/bill-to-lower-drug-costs-surprise-medical-billing-the-fight-against-vaping), 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 (https://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/21/business/a-huge-overnight-increase-in-a-drugs-price-raises-protests.html), and patients are feeling the financial pressure. A new bill from U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) (https://www.realclearhealth.com/articles/2020/02/10/bipartisan_bill_would_help_lower_rx_drug_prices_110988.html) 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 (https://www.ons.org/make-difference/ons-center-advocacy-and-health-policy/position-statements/e-cigarettes-and-vaping) to raise awareness for accessible and affordable medications (https://www.ons.org/make-difference/ons-center-advocacy-and-health-policy/position-statements/access-quality-cancer), educating them on the burden of financial toxicity for patients with cancer (https://voice.ons.org/news-and-views/financial-toxicity-and-its-burden-on-cancer-care).
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 (https://voice.ons.org/advocacy/fda-takes-stronger-oversight-role-of-tobacco-products). The Trump administration’s February 10 budget proposal changes that with the formation of a new agency to regulate tobacco (https://www.statnews.com/2020/02/10/trump-doesnt-want-the-fda-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 mechanism (https://voice.ons.org/advocacy/trump-vaping-meeting-drug-pricing-stalemate-dc-sues-juul)s.
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 (https://www.ons.org/make-a-difference/advocacy-policy/coalitions) to encourage the administration to embrace stronger regulation and more oversight control (https://www.ons.org/make-difference/ons-center-advocacy-and-health-policy/position-statements/e-cigarettes-and-vaping). Share your voice in the health policy conversation by joining the ONS advocacy effort (https://voice.ons.org/advocacy/get-involved).