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More and more, new research shows that smoking and vaping is associated with a substantially higher risk of COVID-19 progression.
Worse, this comes at a time of worry over the impacts of these habits, including a series of vape-related lung illnesses as well as fatalities.
Earlier this week, the California State Assembly passed a ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and vapes. While this is significant progress, the fight to ban these kinds of items in the Golden State isn’t over, yet. The bill will go to the State Senate for a final vote.
The Bill and Its Potential Impacts
Senate Bill 793, authored by Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), specifically makes any sale punishable by a fine of $250.
This also includes flavored e-cigarettes, cigars, and menthol cigarettes. But the bill includes exemptions for pipe tobacco and cigars worth $12 or more.
“Ending the sale of flavored tobacco products is an issue of both health and social justice,” Managing Director of The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Jim Knox told the Sacramento Bee. “Menthol cigarettes are disproportionately used by Blacks, LGBTQ, and low-income communities already burdened by tobacco-related disease, including lung cancer.”
Moreover, this will make lasting changes with smoking among youth, according to
“Ending the sale of flavored e-cigarettes is a necessary step to reverse skyrocketing youth use of e-cigarettes and prevent e-cigarettes from addicting a new generation,” Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, writes in a statement. “The evidence is clear that flavored e-cigarettes have fueled this epidemic.”
In the CDC’s 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) illustrated the wide-reach of this issue. Their data shows:
- In 2019, 32.7% of U.S. high school students were current e-cigarette users
- In 2017, 19.5% of U.S. high school students were current e-cigarette users
- That 13.2% shows how this rise in users is connected to heavy addiction
- 97% of youth e-cigarette users said they used a flavored product in the past month
- 70% cite flavors as the reason for their use
Other States Implementing the Vaping Ban
In 2019, New York became the first state to implement a statewide ban on most flavored nicotine vaping products.
In late September, Massachusetts went a four-month prohibition on the sale of all vaping products, further than any other state in an urge to keep e-cigarettes out of consumers’ hands, with its governor declaring a public health emergency and order.
In October, Rhode Island introduced a 120-day ban on flavored vaping products, not including unflavored tobacco products with an option to extend ban another 60 days.
Political leaders at all levels of government have faced increased demands for action as the news of vaping-related illnesses has spread, and the federal government is considering a nationwide ban.
Later the Trump Administration announced a plan to pull youth-friendly flavored e-cigs from the market, at least until FDA applications are complete.
But even though the ban went into effect, teenagers will still have access to nicotine vapes because many of the flavored vape products are still available.
Erika Sward, a spokeswoman for the American Lung Association, told the Washington Post that “it’s a joke to call it vaping ban at all.”
Hence, many health advocates believe that teens will switch to other products that are still in the market.
“Flavored tobacco is like the Joe Camel for this generation,” explained pediatrician Dr. Charles Dover to the California Globe. “Independent studies have shown that tobacco use among youths would go down if there were no flavored varieties, so it’s fairly obvious, at least to medical professionals and doctors like myself, that this bill will deliver on its promise to reduce youth use.”
New CDC data now says 33% of U.S. high school students-1 in 3!!-used e-cigarettes in 2019- up from 13% in 2017.
“This legislation will save lives and prevent our young people from taking up the deadly and addictive habit of smoking.” Assemblyman Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg) said at a press release.
‘Quitxt’ Can Help You Quit Smoking and Vapin
If you are interested in quitting cigarettes or vaping, join Quitxt.
Quitxt is a bilingual service for your smartphone that sends messages with culturally and regionally tailored support to help South Texas young adults quit smoking.
Join Quitxt via Facebook Messenger, just hit “send message”!
The service uses text messages, or Facebook Messenger chat to help with motivation to quit, setting a quit date, finding things to do instead of smoking, handling stress, using nicotine replacement if needed, and more. The service was created by Amelie G. Ramirez, leader of Salud America! at the Institute for Health Promotion Research at UT Health San Antonio.