Each day, more than 3,500 kids begin vaping, according to the American Heart Association.
Because the number of students using e-cigarettes and other vaping devices has skyrocketed, the association is focusing its efforts on changing policy and educating people about the dangers of vaping for teens, youth and parents through the #TobaccoEndGame campaign -- and there are ways you can help in the fight.
Currently, there are two bills -- Senate Bill 1080 and House Bill 987 -- in the Florida Legislature, each of which threaten the ability of local governments to create tobacco resale license ordinances that would enforce compliance of tobacco and nicotine retailers.
If the bills pass, it could eliminate years of progress in the fight to reduce tobacco use.
Here’s what the passage of the bills could potentially do, according to the AHA:
- Erase 100+ tobacco ordinances passed by Florida communities to limit youth access to tobacco products.
- Create new categories of products (nicotine products and nicotine dispensing devices) that would require duplicative regulatory and enforcement efforts -- using taxpayer dollars.
- Fine and penalize underage youth who purchase tobacco products, instead of holding the tobacco retailer accountable.
- Leave numerous tobacco products unregulated.
- Keep communities from taking future action.
Furthermore, here are a few statistics about smoking, according to the AHA:
- 1 in 4 high school age kids report using e-cigarettes.
- Nearly 90% of smokers try a tobacco product by the time they are 18 years old. If someone has not used tobacco by age 26, they are likely to never begin.
- Many adolescents don’t realize e-cigarettes contain nicotine.
- E-cigarettes can deliver a much higher concentration of addictive nicotine than traditional cigarettes.
- Evidence shows that kids and young adults who try e-cigarettes may transition to regular cigarettes and other drugs.
If you feel passionately about putting an end to teen vaping, here’s how you can help:
- Advocate for strong, comprehensive tobacco policies.
- Talk with the young people in your life about the dangers of any tobacco or nicotine use.
- Become an advocate in your community at yourethecure.org.
The biggest thing you can do currently, is to visit the American Heart Association You’re the Cure website to join others in your community who are asking state lawmakers to vote against the legislation.
This initiative is locally sponsored by Schiller Americas.