NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Children’s health advocates and some state lawmakers are once again pushing to end the sale of flavored vaping products in Connecticut this year.
They’ve been trying to get this done for two years, but they’re hoping with a bill that focuses only on flavored vapes, they’ll be able to ban these products.
Some believe banning flavored nicotine for e-cigarettes is one way to keep vapes out of the hands of kids.
“Flavors hook kids, it’s a simple statement, and it’s true,” Kevin O’Flaherty, the director of the Northeastern Region at Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids said.
In a virtual meeting Wednesday, educators, doctors and politicians tackled the issue, even though the state would lose $2.5 in revenue every year. They think it doesn’t matter.
“We believe that loss of revenue is well worth the savings we will have protecting our children,” State Sen. Julie Kushner (D-Danbury) said.
On the other side of this, some adults who use the flavors said they’ve been helpful to get them off traditional cigarettes. E-cigarettes are sold in thousands of flavors, from mint and menthol to gummy bear and cotton candy.
Supporters of this bill, however, said the U.S. is in the middle of a vaping epidemic. Two million kids have tried it, and doctors said 70% of kids who try to quit, fail.
“Without flavors, tobacco products are much less compelling to kids,” O’Flaherty said.
The Connecticut Energy Marketers Association (CEMA), which represents more than a thousand convenience store owners in Connecticut, hopes this does not go through.
“Adults of legal age should be able to make decisions about the products they want to use,” Christian Herb, the president of CEMA said. “Now that the state has legalized the use of recreational marijuana it seems a little late to want to ban products that have been used safely by adults for decades. Our members participate in underage prevention programs like We Card, to ensure that our youth do not have access to these products. A ban would only drive the sale of these products to the black market where no one cares about who is buying them.”
The U.S. Surgeon General’s Office says youth use of nicotine in any form, including e-cigarettes, is unsafe. E-cigarettes deliver massive doses of nicotine: for instance, each Juul pod delivers as much nicotine as a pack of 20 cigarettes.
Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island already banned flavored vape products. Gov. Ned Lamont supports the measure to end the sale of flavored vaping products.