FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – Saying that Kentucky needs to do more to tackle the steep rise of vaping among teens and pre-teens, state Rep. Buddy Wheatley has pre-filed legislation that would ban added e-cigarette flavors on the market.
“The Journal of the American Medical Association recently reported that about one in four higher schoolers now uses e-cigarettes, which is up from one in 10 just three years ago,” the Covington legislator said. “For middle schoolers, the rate is one in seven. Most of these young people have easier access to these products than others containing tobacco and are drawn in by the flavors and marketing and then cannot avoid the addictive power of nicotine. We cannot let that continue, and I’m pleased that my proposal has already drawn the support of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.”
Rep. Wheatley noted that the CDC and FDA have yet to approve vape products as certified cessation products.
“While there are current smoking cessation programs for adults, kids have little choice but to go cold turkey,” he said. “After decades of progress, a new generation of kids are becoming nicotine-addicted. We know vape products deliver nicotine more efficiently than cigarettes, even twice as efficient in some cases.”
His Bill Request 925 would ban any added flavor to e-cigarettes, including those mimicking food or drink, mint, wintergreen, fruit, chocolate, vanilla, honey, candy, cocoa, dessert, alcoholic beverages, herbs or spices.
The legislation calls for citing anyone who sells or otherwise distributes these flavors in e-cigarette form, and fines would range from $1,000 to $2,500 per offense.
“My bill follows the similar model our country set a decade ago, when the FDA banned certain flavors in cigarettes because of their appeal to our children,” Rep. Wheatley said. “That was the right move then, and it’s the right move now. The hope is that the federal government will take similar steps regarding a ban of e-cigarette flavors, but until that happens, my bill will at least make sure this is in effect here in Kentucky.”
You can read Rep. Wheatley’s bill by clicking here. It will be considered during the 2020 Regular Session of the General Assembly, which will begin meeting on January 7.
(This story was originally published on December 12, 2019)