Bexley council considers ban on sales of flavored-vaping products

CHRIS BOURNEA
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ThisWeek group

The sale of flavored vaping products would be banned in the city if Bexley City Council approves Ordinance 34-20.

The purpose of the ordinance is to discourage the use of flavored vaping products by minors, said Jen Robinson, the chair of council's safety and health committee who introduced the legislation Aug. 25.

"This proposed ordinance grew out of a growing realization that our kids are being exposed to vaping. It's a substitute for smoking as early as middle school," she said. "Some of these exposures are leading to long-term use of products, as well as being a gateway to other nicotine products and also marijuana."

"According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Youth Survey for Tobacco-Free Kids, there has been a 135% increase in vaping by high school students since 2017," Ordinance 34-20 said.

Robinson also cited a December 2018 advisory issued by the U.S. surgeon general officially declaring e-cigarette use among youth as an epidemic in the country.

"According to the Truth Initiative, 81% of youth who try tobacco products choose flavored products, and of those, 81.5% state that flavoring is a primary reason for continued usage," Robinson said. "Also to consider is while vape products have often been marketed as a way for adult smokers to break their dependency on cigarettes, a 2018 study (by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) revealed that 54.6% of adult users end up as dual users, meaning they smoke both electronic and traditional cigarettes."

Council member Troy Markham said existing laws prohibit the sale of vaping products to youth.

Robinson said Ordinance 34-20 would institute a ban on flavored-vaping products for consumers of all ages.

The legislation states that 53% of e-cigarettes are purchased from convenience stores, food, drug and mass-retail chains, whereas 28% of the sales come from online retailers.

"This is a blanket ban on the sale of vape. They will not be available within our city," Robinson said. "If we can eliminate that opportunity for people to conveniently buy these products in Bexley, that is really the spirit of this ordinance."

Ordinance 34-20 is tentatively scheduled for a third and final reading and council vote at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 22.

Council meetings are conducted virtually on the city's website, bexley.org, during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

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