Proposed legislation would prohibit e-cigarette sales to minors

DOWNEY − Assemblymember Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) has introduced AB 216 that would make it illegal for stores to sell non-nicotine vaping/electronic cigarette devices to anyone under the age of 18. Current law only prevents minors from purchasing vaping/electronic cigarette devices with nicotine cartridges. Even though these devices come without nicotine, it is still a filtration device that can be used for smoking cannabis, nicotine, or other herbal substances.

E-cigarettes and vape pens often target a younger audience using sweet flavored compounds that carry the names of popular kid’s treats such as gummy bears and fruit loops.

Although they don’t have nicotine, these compounds have been shown to contain other harmful chemicals, masked by the candy flavored vapor.

Minors under the age of 18 years old are now free to purchase and use these products.

While many adults are using e-cigarettes and vape pens as a way to quit smoking, studies suggest that adolescents who are enticed by e‐cigarettes are more likely to progress from experimenting with cigarettes, to becoming established smokers.

In fact, according to the Journal of Pediatric, the number of children using e-cigarettes or vape pens has doubled every year since 2009.

Among 12th-graders, 17 percent reported e-cigarette use and 14 percent reported use of a tobacco cigarette.

“I look forward to working with various stakeholders, including the industry, to protect our children who have become prey to vendors with strategically named, non-nicotine vapes, with fun flavors like “Kool-Aid” and “Skittles,” Garcia said.

“Unlike candy cigarettes that became socially unacceptable, these products are dangerous for children and act as a gateway to future tobacco use.”

According to the CDC, more than a quarter of a million youth who had never smoked a cigarette used electronic cigarettes in 2013.

The data, which comes from the 2011, 2012, and 2013 National Youth Tobacco surveys of middle and high school students, show that youth who had never smoked conventional cigarettes but who used e-cigarettes were almost twice as likely to have intentions to smoke conventional cigarettes as those who had never used e-cigarettes.

Among non-smoking youth who had ever used e-cigarettes, 43.9 percent said they have intentions* to smoke conventional cigarettes within the next year, compared with 21.5 percent of those who had never used e-cigarettes.

Researchers also found the greater the number of advertising sources to which young people were exposed, the greater their rate of intention to smoke cigarettes. Thirteen percent of students who said they had no exposures to such ads had intentions to smoke, compared to 20.4 percent among those who reported exposures from one to two ad sources and 25.6 percent among those who reported exposures from three to four of the sources.

AB 216 will be set for a hearing in the Assembly at a future date.

 

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Published: Feb. 5, 2015 - Volume 13 - Issue 43