‘Ready to go.’ Flavored-vape ban on Lamont’s…


Gov. Ned Lamont’s heat welcome final yr to Phillip Morris, with the relocation of its headquarters from New York Metropolis to Stamford, drew fast rebuke from anti-tobacco activists who stated the transfer could be a take a look at of the governor’s assist for a ban on flavored vaping merchandise in Connecticut.

On the time, the governor stated the corporate’s transfer, which he helped make occur, wouldn’t battle along with his public well being objectives. Now, simply weeks away from the 2022 legislative session, Lamont stated he’s dedicated to supporting a flavored vape ban however shouldn’t be guaranteeing the proposal shall be in his midterm price range plan, which is predicted to be unveiled subsequent month.

“I’m ready to go on that,” Lamont stated Tuesday, requested about his assist for the ban after an unrelated occasion in Bloomfield. “I think it was the right thing to do last time. I think we proposed it once or twice. This time I’d like to work with the legislature to see if they’ll step up. I’ll sign it.”

The Connecticut Marketing campaign Tobacco-Free Children, its essential advocate, has been pushing the governor to suggest the vape ban himself as he’s achieved in his earlier two price range plans, which might be a stronger endorsement than leaving it as much as the legislature to introduce a invoice

“We appreciate the governor’s support, certainly, but he can take the lead on this, and we expect that he should,” stated Kevin O’Flaherty, director of advocacy for the group.

O’Flaherty stated feedback the governor made in June when he introduced Phillip Morris’ transfer gave the expectation that he would take the lead on reintroducing the proposal. Lamont stated on the time: “We didn’t get it through the legislature, and we’re going to try it again as soon as I can.”

“We hope that he sticks to his word,” O’Flaherty stated.

Final yr’s effort fell aside within the eleventh hour after a diluted model of the ban was stripped from the huge price range implementer invoice on the request of Tobacco-Free Children. The group stated on the time that the proposal was “riddled with major loopholes” and will have made Connecticut extra topic to lawsuits from the vaping trade.

Tobacco-Free Children had advocated for a ban on all flavored tobacco merchandise, together with menthol cigarettes, however that effort failed to achieve traction within the legislature final yr after nonpartisan price range analysts stated the state might lose almost $200 million in tax income over the following two years as results of the ban.

By comparability, a ban on flavored vaping merchandise is estimated to price the state a number of million {dollars} in taxes yearly, O’Flaherty stated. These merchandise are what the “vast majority of kids are using to get addicted to nicotine,” he added.

“We’re not seeing the use of menthol cigarettes going up in kids. It is a static situation. While it’s horrible and needs to be addressed, ecigs are leading the way to kids getting addicted to tobacco products,” he stated.

Teen vaping was down 40 % in 2021 in comparison with 2020, in accordance with the most recent Nationwide Youth Tobacco Survey.

However O’Flaherty cautioned about making any assumptions about general teen vaping habits primarily based on the info, given it was collected in the course of the pandemic when youngsters spent lots of trip of the classroom and away from their social networks.

“We’re not sure at this point whether it is an actual drop in the long-term use of these products or whether it’s a hiccup because of the way the data was collected — primarily online and through at-home surveys versus in-school surveys as was done previously,” he stated.

The drop is also a “reflection” of the truth that youngsters have socialized much less all through the pandemic and thus possible had fewer alternatives to make use of vaping merchandise. As youngsters return to the classroom and reengage with associates, teen vaping might rise, O’Flaherty stated.

“It’s just one year of data,” he stated. “It’s hard to tell whether there’s actually been meaningful change.”


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