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Weekly Address — October 10, 2019

From the historic hallways of the most beautiful state Capitol in our great land, this is Senator Keith Ingram.

It’s just a matter of time before the legislature takes action against the advertising of e-cigarettes and vaping products to minors.

Unfortunately, many young people have the mistaken belief that vaping is a safe alternative to tobacco.

However, the growing body of medical research is proving that vaping may be just as harmful to your lungs and your heart as smoking cigarettes.

Nationwide, seven people have died from vaping and hundreds have been hospitalized, and the numbers are growing every day.

One reason people think of e-cigarettes as a safe alternative to tobacco is because they are treated differently. For example, it’s legal to smoke e-cigarettes in places where smoking is prohibited.

Another reason is that vaping companies target young people in their marketing campaigns. Vaping products come in flavors that appeal to children, such as cotton candy and Lucky Charms.

Vaping devices are manufactured to look like USB drives and ballpoint pens, so they’re very easy to hide from teachers.

Our Public Health Committee heard from the administrator of a school system where the coach had confiscated a vaping product shaped like a fidget spinner.

The marketing makes it easy for young people to overlook the fact that vaping delivers strong doses of nicotine, which is extremely addictive.

The administrator admitted that it is impossible for teachers to uncover every vaping product that students bring to school. Even so, over the past three years the number of confiscations of e-cigarettes has gone up 420 percent in her schools.

Some physicians report having examined young people who vape, and discovering that they have the lungs of a 70-year-old.

In addition to restricting e-cigarettes the same as real cigarettes, legislators will consider taxing vaping products in the same way that tobacco products are taxed.

Teenagers don’t have as much ready cash as adults, so their purchasing habits are very sensitive to price increases.

Public health experts say that the level of vaping among teenagers is an epidemic. That’s why legislative leaders are pushing for a special session to address the issue. Every day that goes by, more teenagers get addicted.

From the Capitol, it is always my great honor and sincere privilege to serve you as your state Senator. This is Keith Ingram.


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