Louisiana House Ban on Flavored Vape Products
To Curb Increasing Vaping Among Young People
The Louisiana House Judiciary Committee has approved a bill that would prohibit the sale of flavored nicotine products used in vaping. The bill, known as House Bill 179, was introduced by William Wheat, a representative from the Ponchatoula district.
In testimony presented to the committee, Wheat cited concerns that young people were taking up vaping and tobacco products at increasing rates, describing it as an epidemic. One witness recounted the devastating effects that vaping had on her son who tragically passed away as a result.
According to Wheat, a study in 2015 showed that only 17% of high school students had tried e-cigarettes. However, that number has risen sharply to 52% today. While it is already illegal in Louisiana for anyone under the age of 21 to purchase tobacco or nicotine products, Wheat argued that this has not been enough to stop young people from obtaining them.
The main aim of the bill is to limit the availability of flavor enhancers that are used in vaping to entice young people to start. By targeting flavored products, the bill’s supporters hope that the trend among young people towards vaping will decline.
Supporters and Opponents of the Ban
Republican Representative Mike Johnson from Pineville spoke in favor of the bill and criticized companies for encouraging addiction in younger generations by producing these products.
While many on the committee supported the bill, there were some concerns voiced by other representatives. For example, Reps Nicholas Muscarello Jr from Hammond and Joseph Orgeron from Larose questioned if the ban would also include traditional cigarette flavors, such as menthol. Wheat confirmed that these would not be banned, but that some neighboring states are working towards that objective.
Alice Cline from the American Cancer Society offered her support for the bill and committed to working with lawmakers to improve its effectiveness.
However, Heather Hutton, who testified on behalf of vape shop owners, said that the bill would not be helpful. She argued that it would harm small businesses because most of her sales involved products other than flavored tobacco and nicotine products. Hutton also claimed that law enforcement should hold young people accountable for obtaining these products illegally rather than taking away products that adults enjoy legally.
The Impact of the Bill
If signed into law, the bill would further restrict the sale and manufacture of flavored nicotine products used in vaping. Such a move could have an adverse effect on vape shops and retailers, especially those that are small and rely heavily on cultivation and sale of flavoured products.
On the other hand, proponents of the bill argue that it is an essential step towards curbing the rise of vaping among young people. They say that by limiting the availability of flavor-enhanced products, young people will be less likely to start smoking and tobacco usage.
- What does the bill propose?
The bill proposes prohibiting the sale of flavored nicotine products proliferating in vaping.
- What major concern has prompted the bill’s advocacy?
A significant increase in the use of vapor and tobacco products by younger people which is widespread and concerning lawmakers.
- Who has supported the bill?
Representatives, such as Bill Wheat and Mike Johnson, and organizations like the American Cancer Society, support the bill.
- Who has spoken against the bill and why?
Heather Hutton, who testified on behalf of vape shop owners, spoke out against the bill because she claimed the ban would hurt local businesses and infringe on the rights of adults.
- When will the bill be signed into law?
There is no information on when the bill will be signed into law, as it is still being reviewed by the Louisiana House Judiciary Committee.