A number of new bills aimed at making it harder for youngsters to have access to vaping products, seem to be laying the groundwork for a statewide vape ban.
A set of new vape bills, which include raising taxes, banning flavours and allowing local governments to set in place tougher restrictions, may be setting the stage for a total vape ban.
State Sen. Martin Hickey, who represents Albuquerque, said that while not much can be done to keep existing smokers away from cigarettes, something can be done to prevent new addictions from forming. “It’s kind of the beginning of the chain reaction of addiction,” he said about vaping. “And if we can nip it in the bud now, we can stop so much misery for the individual, for the families, for the addictions that follow later on.”
The senator believes that the situation is precarious. “The trends are, they’re going up, we were waiting to get another survey and I bet we’re probably moving close to 50% of high school students,” he said.
Teen vaping rates are dropping
Meanwhile, a new survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has indicated that actually youth vaping rates have dropped. Titled ‘Notes from the Field: E-cigarette Use Among Middle and High School Students — United States, 2022’, the study found that 9.4% of middle and high schoolers surveyed reported currently vaping. In 2019 this figure was at 20%, and in 2020, 13.1%.
Sadly the CDC has not published these results yet, leaving many lawmakers in the dark about the figures. Every other year, public schools participate in the YRBS, which surveys youth on various behaviors including substance use patterns. The survey aims to help inform lawmakers on any policies they may be considering and in previous years, the CDC has published the results in the summer of the following year.
“For example, during the middle of the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2019 YRBS results were available in August,” explains IWF. “Yet, as of early December, the CDC has not released the 2021 survey results. This is quite odd considering that some states, including Montana, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin have released their own state’s YRBS results,” adds the article.
IWF adds that this delay is suspicious given that the significant funding the CDC has received from Bloomberg. “It’s even odder considering that, since 2019, billionaire e-cigarette opponent Michael Bloomberg has donated $10.5 million to the CDC Foundation for the ‘monitoring of e-cigarette use among youth,’ including ‘adding more nuanced, key indicators to state-based youth surveillance systems,’ such as the YRBS. You’d think, given this influx of funding, the agency would be able to release this information on time.”