A new report by Tobacco Free Kids shows 25% of the US population including over 17 million kids are protected by state and local laws that restrict the sale of flavored tobacco products.
President of the Campaign For Tobacco Free Kids Matt Myers is encouraging Vermont to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products.
“We have an epidemic of e-cigarette use among kids and candidly Vermont, which is normally better than the rest of the nation is worse than the rest of the nation in terms of teenagers,” said Myers.
According to Tobacco Free Kids, 1 in 5 kids use e-cigarettes nationwide, but in Vermont 1 in 4 kids use e- cigarettes. Experts say over 80% of kids that use e-cigarettes use flavored products including fruit, mint, or menthol.
Senator Ginny Lyons of Chittenden County did introduce a bill at the beginning of Vermont’s legislature session that would ban the sale of flavored tobacco.
“It absolutely gets kids hooked and it’s also the way that the vape products have become so appealing and attractive. They are in different colors and different styles,” said Sen. Lyons.
Due to Covid and the legislature session ending, the bill ended. Lyons is also the chair of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, she says prevention is key when it comes to kids smoking.
“We’ve seen the cost of that, there was a study done a few years ago on the cost of heart disease related to smoking and it was $150 million in our state in one year. You’re never going to stop people from accessing tobacco or other addictive products but we certainly can help to keep it from getting it to the hands of people when they are very young,” said Lyons
Myers said each year since 2015, the percentage of kids who use these products and become addicted has grown. Recent data shows that over 38% of kids who use these products use them more than 20 days a month. Massachusetts, New York, California, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and other local municipalities already have policies in place that prohibit the sale of flavored tobacco products. Senator Ginny Lyons plans to re-introduce the bill during the next legislature session.