We were happy to see news today that Governor Inslee has signed a bill to strengthen protections for youth against the sale and use of e-cigarettes and vapor products. Being a new industry, the sale of e-cigarettes and vaping products has so far been mostly unregulated. Recent studies show that e-cigarette usage in high-schoolers in on the rise; from one in 14 teens using e-cigarettes in 2012, to one in 5 in 2014.
9 out of 10 smokers tried their first cigarette by age 18, so targeted prevention programs for youth are the first line of offense for reducing overall tobacco use and smoking related illness. The health benefits from quitting smoking start just 20 minutes after your last cigarette, and within the first year, your blood pressure and heart rate regulate, the level of carbon monoxide in your blood returns to normal, your circulation and lung function increases, and your risk of coronary heart disease is halved. Smoking cessation is hugely important tool of reducing premature death in the community.
The bill stems from work done through the Healthiest Next Generation Initiative, which aims to fight the alarming prediction that this next generation will be the first to have shorter lives than their parents by investing in youth health outcomes. Among other regulations, this bill will require products be in display cases instead of sold openly, ban the use of vapor products where children congregate, and provide enforcement and penalties for retails who break the laws.
Here in Spokane, if you’d like to learn more about the effects of e-cigarettes and vaping products on youth and tools for prevention, Spokane Regional Health District is hosting a 3-part event series on just that Wednesday-Friday this week. You can read about those events on the BHT blog.