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Bill To Ban Vapes On Governor’s Desk

The Vermont Senate introduced a bill last session that, if passed, would ban flavored tobacco products from being sold across the state.

The purpose of S.18 is to protect all Vermonters, but especially teenagers, from the “significant and detrimental health impacts of both flavored tobacco and nicotine,” Tina Zuk, Government Relations Director for the American Heart Association, said.

E-cigarettes are a problem thanks to the huge selection of flavors making them appealing to younger kids. Nicotine is an incredibly addictive stimulant that keeps users wanting more.

“[E-cigarettes] contain heavy metals, carcinogens, and ultrafine chemical particles that are deposited deep in the lungs when inhaled because they are so small that they bypass the defense mechanisms of the lungs,” Dr. L.E. Faricy, Vermont Children’s Hospital pediatric pulmonologist, said when testifying before the committee. 

The history behind vapes being introduced to kids is concerning. 

“E-cigarettes reached the market without extensive preclinical toxicology testing or long-term safety trials, and then were heavily marketed to target a youth population as a perfectly safe product,” Dr. Faricy said.

For these reasons and more, the Vermont Legislature has chosen to ban flavored tobacco products.

Kelly Landwehr, President of the Vermont State School Nurses Association, said she sees the following on a daily basis:

  • Students reach out scared and wanting help
  • Parents of children addicted to nicotine reach out, desperate to help their children
  • Students are alarmed to feel their hearts racing and feel very anxious and frightened
  • Students who have started vaping seek help for a chronic cough or shortness of breath
  • Students use nicotine products socially and quickly becoming addicted
  • Athletes now have health effects that interfere with playing the sports they love
  • Students have been diagnosed with irreversible lung conditions due to vaping

In addition to these issues, Dr. Faricy mentioned that some students cannot sit through a 90-minute class without going to vape. “Nicotine dependence is very disruptive to learning in the short term,” Dr. Faricy said. 

“There are also long-term impacts of nicotine on the adolescent brain that are relevant to learning, which include impairments in attention capacity and working memory as well as increased risk for mood disorders and poor impulse control,” Dr. Faricy said.

The dangers of nicotine addiction can also lead to trouble down the road.  

“There is a progression that happens of the rate of use of addictive products from nicotine, alcohol, cannabis to opioids, with nicotine priming the brain to want more,” Dr. Mark Levine, Vermont Health Commissioner, said.

“E-cigarettes’ biggest threat to public health may be this: The increasing popularity of vaping may ‘re-normalize’ smoking, which has declined for years,” Zuk said. 

Not only is smoking the leading preventable cause of death, it is estimated to cost the state $404 million annually. This number includes all the healthcare costs associated with smoking.

The Vermont Senate passed S.18 on March 30, 2023 and was passed in the House just on March 15, 2024 with an amendment to the language. It is now on the Governor’s desk awaiting his signature.

To learn more about the bill and its journey through Montpelier, visit the Vermont Legislature website at this link.

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Sam Houghton
Sam Houghton, Staff Writer
Sam Houghton is a 10th grader and staff writer for The Hive. He is involved in the EHS cross country team. In his free time he enjoys photography, filmmaking, hiking, and skiing. You can contact him at [email protected].
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