Spokane County’s health officer says a new federal policy that prohibits the sale of many flavored vaping liquids to minors doesn’t go far enough to protect public health.
Last week the federal government announced plans to keep young people from buying a variety of flavored vaping fluids that are appealing to young people, candy and fruit-flavors, for example. But it said it would continue to allow them access to menthol and tobacco-flavored liquids.
“They also believe that they need to allow flavored vaping solutions available to adults because, they argue, that it is something being used by adults to decrease combustible cigarette usage," Lutz said.
But Lutz and the National Association of County and City Health Officials say that’s a tepid step, at best, toward reducing vaping use among young people.
“We have seen this exponential increase in kids using. The latest data that came out from what’s called the National Youth Tobacco Survey: almost one-in-three high school students are regularly vaping. Our numbers locally are higher than that. Our numbers are around 38-40%. And if you talk with administrators, school teachers, they’re saying that’s under representing the reality," he said.
Lutz says the challenge in reducing those rates is overcoming the message that vaping is cool among teenagers, even with the news about young people dying and sustaining serious lung injuries through vaping.