This post was last updated on November 24th, 2019 at 12:41 pm
The rising risks of vaping, especially for the youth, have finally called for the US authorities to take significant actions. Moving a step closer to eradicating such products, Massachusetts became the first state to take a crucial move in the national battle against vaping.
Followed by the House, the State Senate passed a sweeping ban on all flavored e-cigarettes and tobacco products like menthol cigarettes. Late on Wednesday, the ban was signed into law in Massachusetts.
“This is a public health issue, but it’s really about justice,” said Jon Santiago, a Democratic lawmaker and an emergency physician at Boston Medical Center. “We believe this bill ultimately will protect generations of black and brown youth for years to come.”
In recent months, over 40 people have died, while more than 2,000 have been sickened from respiratory and lung illnesses due to vaping. Recently, a 17-year-old teenager in Michigan became the first person ever to undergo a double lungs transplant surgery due to vaping-related injury. Authorities have attributed most of the diseases to vaping THC products, where the plague caused a stir in efforts to regulate the e-cigarettes.
As the vaping-related illnesses and their use continued to rise at a greater pace, the Trump administration in September announced to ban the sale of most of the flavored e-cigarettes. However, the pressure from lobbyists and political advisers kept the plan at bay.
Governors of several states, in the recent months, have been using their executive powers to impose bans on flavored vaping products, where most have remained temporary. With Wednesday’s decision of the Senate, Massachusetts would become the first state to impose a ban on such hazardous products through a legislation. Other states, on the other hand, were said to be closely looking at the outcome in the Massachusetts.
Other than banning the flavored e-cigarettes and tobacco products, the bill passed by Governor Charlie Baker of the Republic Party would also impose an excise tax on e-cigarettes, restricts higher-level nicotine products to 21-and-over stores, and demands insurers to cover tobacco cessation counseling and nicotine replacement therapies like gums and patches.
Experts have stated that the ban on menthol cigarettes in the bill was essentially notable. “The concern with menthol is that it’s really the emperor of all flavors, because it’s both a flavor and an anesthetic,” said Dr. Jonathan Winickoff, a general pediatrician at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children. He highlighted that it’s exception in the 2009 bill had been “very damaging to kids”.
In 2013, the Food and Drug Administration released a report, stating that menthol cigarettes made smoking easier for beginners and then harder to quit.
The ban in Massachusetts could be seen as the first step to the nation’s fight with the growing epidemic of vaping. Several lives have been lost already, while many are suffering from its ill-effects. With merely one move, the country might soon be seen gradually moving further to ward off the use of e-cigarette.