CT officials move forward with banning flavored vapes, bill does not include menthol cigarettes

Politics

(WTNH) — On Monday, the Joint Committee on Finance, Revenue and Bonding decided to move forward with the proposal to ban flavored vape products in Connecticut.

The bill, which passed out of the Finance Revenue and Bonding Committee, is a dramatically revised proposal. The new bill combines the governor’s wishes and that of the Public Health Committee when it comes to banning flavored vapes.

State Representative Sean Scanlon Democrat of was a former smoker himself and says flavors like cotton candy make it enticing to teens.

“I believe we should be doing everything we can to make sure that other young people in Connecticut are not making the same mistake that I and other smokers did as young people by getting hooked on these products.”

State Representative Nicole Klarides-Ditria, Republican of Derby, says, “I don’t understand why we’re taking this right away from adults when we’re trying to get children to stop smoking and or vaping. I agree we should make the penalties tougher if they are sold to under 21 individuals but I think we are heading on the wrong path.”

This bill does not touch menthol cigarettes. Those would remain legal. The financial hit to the state is expected to be $4.4 million over two years.

Director of Advocacy for the Northeast Region of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids Kevin O’Flaherty issued a statement:

Ending the sale of flavored e-cigarettes is the best way that Connecticut can address youth usage of e-cigarettes, which has been designated an epidemic by the US Surgeon General, and we applaud the committee for taking this important step. However, the bill passed today fails to deal with the one flavored tobacco product that has addicted more kids and killed more Americans than all other flavored tobacco products combined – menthol cigarettes. Not only are these products more appealing to kids in general, they have also been perniciously marketed to communities of color in predatory ways and contribute to the health disparities that African Americans have to face every day. We urge Governor Lamont and the Legislature to continue working until we find a way to protect all kids from all flavored tobacco products this year.

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