State lawmaker looking into potential ban of flavored vaping products

State lawmaker looking into potential ban of flavored vaping products

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - In response to hundreds of cases of reported lung injuries related to e-cigarettes and vaping across the country, some states are banning the sale of flavored vaping products.

Representative Beth Bernstein (D-Richland) said the amendments added to the Youth Access to Tobacco Prevention Act earlier this year were the first steps in protecting minors. The changes prohibit vaping at public schools, create a more robust system for online sales, and prohibit minors from entering vape shops.

Smokefree SC is working to stop teen vaping in South Carolina.

“All of us in the public health world believe that the most impactful step to get kids off vaping, e-cigarettes, and to break these nicotine addictions that are happening, is to ban the flavors,” said Rebecca Jacobson, the executive director of Smokefree SC.

According to Jacobson, studies show more than 90% of teens who are vaping are using flavored products.

“That’s what prompted me to do some research and I intend to pre-file legislation that ban all flavored vaping products,” Rep. Bernstein said.

Richard Faddis is the owner of Sumter E-Cig in Sumter County. He said a ban on flavored products like this could really hurt small businesses like his. “I would go under. Just this scare – my business as of yesterday - I’m 50% down this month.”

Faddis said he opened up his first shops a few years after he turned to vaping. He used to be a smoker. Faddis said the majority of the products they sell are flavored. He said smokers who are looking to quit usually buy these products.

Dustin Laws works at Sumter E-Cig. He created the SC Vaping Coalition group on Facebook. He said the most likely reason for the outbreak in reported lung injuries related to vaping is possibly linked to products people are buying on the black market.

“There are people getting these THC cartridges and people are putting a ton of stuff in them and it’s not really helping out at all,” Laws said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, based on initial data from states, most patients have reported a history of using e-cigarette products containing THC.

Smokefree SC said the flavor ban could protect minors from potential long term health effects.

“We do know its unfortunate for people who own vape shops,” Jacobson said, "but our main concern is the health epidemic for teenagers.”

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