Pashinski introduces bill to ban flavored vaping products in Pa.
HARRISBURG, Oct. 25 – State Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Luzerne, today introduced his “Ban on Flavored Vapor Products Act”, H.B. 1994, which would remove flavored vaping products from store shelves across Pennsylvania.
“Vapor products have been repeatedly called ‘safe’ or ‘less dangerous’ than cigarettes,” Pashinski said. “While it is true that vapor products contain far fewer carcinogens and toxicants, they still contain significant amounts of nicotine – the drug that makes cigarettes addictive in the first place.”
House Bill 1994 would reduce access to these dangerous products by penalizing retail stores up to $500 for the sale or production of flavored vaping products, with penalties increasing if violations continue. Individuals either selling or producing these products would also face increasing fines, starting at $250, and individuals buying these products would receive a fine of up to $200 as well as up to 75 hours of community service.
“For decades, the amount of young people using tobacco products was steadily declining, but that is no longer true,” Pashinski said. “From just 2017 to 2018, the percentage of high schoolers using tobacco products jumped from nearly 20% to 27%. This dramatic increase was mainly caused by flavored vaping products. My bill will swiftly address this disturbing trend by keeping these harmful products off Pennsylvania’s shelves.”
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the increase in youth tobacco use has been driven largely by e-cigarettes, with use increasing from 11.6% to 20.8% from 2017 to 2018. It is currently the most popular tobacco product among high school students as of 2018, and according to another survey, 81.5% of youth (12-17) who had used e-cigarettes in the last 30 days cited that they used them because “they come in flavors I like.” Some of these flavors are Captain Crunch, bubble gum, and cotton candy.
“Smoking in any form has been proven to be unhealthy, and no law or regulation will completely prevent people from smoking,” Pashinski said. “It is incumbent upon all elected officials to represent and protect the people by sharing factual information and attempting to pass legislation or regulations to protect their well-being and guide them to make informed decisions.”
“It’s time for Pennsylvania to combat this recent spike in teen tobacco product usage and the public health concerns that come with it. My legislation today is a critical step toward making that happen.”
The bill has 35 co-sponsors and awaits referral to committee.