California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a crackdown on illicit e-cigarettes on Monday and plans to launch a state-sponsored public awareness campaign about the dangers of the devices amid a nationwide outbreak of serious lung illness connected to vaping.
Newsom’s executive actions instruct state regulators to “reduce youth vaping consumption” by finding ways to ban illegal and counterfeit vaping products.
The Democratic governor also set aside $20 million for a vaping awareness campaign and instructed state health officials to develop signs warning against the hazards of vaping to be placed at retailers and on advertising for e-cigarettes and accessories.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there have been at least six deaths and 450 possible cases of severe lung illnesses related to vaping across the country since the first cases were reported in April. Public health officials have urged people to stop vaping until they can determine the cause of the illness.
Advertisement “We must take immediate action to meet the urgency behind this public health crisis and youth epidemic,” Newsom said in a prepared statement Monday. “As a parent, I understand the anxiety caused by the deceptive marketing tactics and flavored options designed to target our kids. With mysterious lung illnesses and deaths on the rise, we have to educate our kids and do everything we can to tackle this crisis.”
Newsom vowed to work with California lawmakers to craft a “strong tobacco reform package” when legislators return in 2020.
The governor’s action came a few days after the Legislature adjourned for the year without acting on a bill by Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced) that would have increased fines for anyone selling tobacco products, including those for electronic cigarettes, to people under age 21. Gray decided to delay action on his measure until next year so he can explore adding a tax to the bill, a spokesman said.
Business Vapers seek relief from nicotine addiction by turning to cigarettes Business Vapers seek relief from nicotine addiction by turning to cigarettes Some are turning away from vaping and back to cigarettes — or taking them up for the first time — in a dangerous bid to lower their nicotine intake. Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) had earlier proposed to ban the sale of most flavored tobacco products for e-cigarettes, arguing they attract underage users, but he dropped his bill when it was scaled back in a legislative committee.
Advertisement Health groups including the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network blamed the demise of the legislation on an intense lobbying campaign by tobacco companies. In July, the network issued a report that said the tobacco industry has provided more than $2.2 million in campaign contributions to state officials since 2014.
According to the governor’s office, approximately 11% of high school students in California have reported using e-cigarettes, and more than 80% of students who reported using tobacco products use a vaping device.
The governor’s office blamed the increase in youth vaping on the tobacco companies’ use of flavored vapor, and advertising and marketing campaigns targeting young people.
Last week, President Trump said his administration plans to ban vaping products with sweet and fruity flavors because of escalating concerns about health hazards caused by e-cigarettes and the increase in use by teenagers.
“People are dying with vaping,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Wednesday. “We have to find out the extent of the problem.
The Food and Drug Administration already has starting crafting plans for a ban on all flavored e-cigarettes until the producer of each vaping product receives government approval.
Earlier this month, Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer took action to make her state the first in the nation to ban flavored e-cigarettes. Whitmer accused vaping companies of using candy flavors and deceptive advertising to “hook children” on nicotine.
Times staff writer Patrick McGreevy contributed to this report.
LINK ORIGINAL: Latimes