Gov. Mike DeWine joined Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton Wednesday for a press conference to warn parents against the dangers of vaping.
DeWine’s first budget proposal for the 2020-2021 biennium calls for increasing the age to purchase tobacco and vaping products to 21.
On Wednesday, DeWine said that e-cigarette marketers “are convincing some people that their product is a safer alternative than smoking, and that’s simply not the case.”
“With sleek, fun packaging and flavors like ‘candy crush’ and ‘watermelon wave,’ these products are clearly being marketed to kids. We should work to ensure kids don’t start using e-cigarettes in the first place,” DeWine continued. “It is our duty to warn parents of the risks of e-cigarettes and help families realize the long-term consequences of vaping may be no safer than smoking.”
According to DeWine’s office, 350 kids in the United States under the age of 18 become daily smokers, while the rate of e-cigarette use among high-school kids increased from 11.7 percent to 20.8 percent, a 78 percent spike. That means that more than 3 million high-school students have used e-cigarettes in the past month.
“We are seeing an explosive increase in vaping among our youth, and it’s not safe for young people,” Acton said Wednesday. “Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine which is highly addictive and can harm adolescent brain development. E-cigarette aerosol also can contain other harmful and potentially harmful substances including cancer-causing chemicals, heavy metals like lead and chemical flavorings linked to serious lung disease.”
Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Director Lori Criss said that the “impact of nicotine on a developing brain causes young people to become addicted much more swiftly than an adult.”
“Increasing the minimum age to purchase cigarettes and e-cigarettes will increase the age that people have their first cigarette and reduce the likelihood they will become long-term smokers,” Criss added.
DeWine has been promoting the initiative on Twitter all week, claiming it is the government’s “duty to warn parents of the risks of e-cigarettes and help families realize the long-term consequences of vaping may be no safer than smoking.”
It is our duty to warn parents of the risks of e-cigarettes and help families realize the long-term consequences of vaping may be no safer than smoking. https://t.co/mNbNmxinOb
— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) April 17, 2019
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Gov Mike DeWine” by the State of Ohio.