The Oklahoma teen vaping bill passed without opposition.
By a final vote of 14-0 on Feb. 5 in Oklahoma City, Okla., the state Senate Education Committee, led by Democratic Sen. J.J. Dossett, overwhelmingly advanced Senate Bill 33 to the Senate floor, according to the Tulsa World.
Dossett is raising alarm throughout the state. He didn’t use “epidemic” as a way to describe the recent spike in teen vaping, but did refer to it as a “crisis.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced last November vaping among high school students increased by nearly 80 percent since 2017.
“This is a health crisis among our teens,” Dossett said.
While a majority of state school districts currently employ vaping bans, SB 33 would legislate the prohibition into state law, according to the Tulsa World.
Dossett implied the local vaping industry was not pressuring the lawmakers into stalling or killing the measure. The Senator also backed the recent marketing campaigns.
“In all (of) their marketing and in all (of) the information they put out, it is for tobacco cessation or for adults to use,” Dossett was quoted as saying. “It is not for kids. Out front — they are definitely for this legislation.
“I was not totally surprised, because no one can really come out and say we are for selling nicotine products to kids.”
Compared to the skyrocketing vaping rates, 12.5 percent of Oklahoma high schoolers smoked at least one traditional cigarette over the previous 30 days, according to truthinitiative.org.
Dossett is calling for a more “proactive” approach to combating teen vaping.
“I think we need to be more proactive like we did with cigarettes, like we did with tobacco, and say we need to keep these things out of kids’ hands every chance we get,” he told the Tulsa World.
One of the first steps, Dossett said, is legislating vaping devices similar to combustible cigarettes.
The next step, the Senate floor.
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