The Tobacco 21 regulation is meant to be conserving tobacco and vape merchandise out of the arms of these underneath the age of 21.
That shouldn’t be taking place. In reality the variety of underage customers is on the rise, a problem that has aroused the priority of the Coastal Health District.
Especially alarming is using e-cigarettes and flavored supply methods amongst youth and younger adults. It has prompted a renewed effort by the well being district to attract consideration to the regulation (O.C.G.A. § 16-12-172).
“Although we are enjoying a steady decrease in cigarette use, we are seeing a significant increase in e-cigarette use and vaping among our high school students,” mentioned Coastal Health District Chronic Disease Prevention Director Cristina Gibson.
“We are also getting requests from local middle schools for presentations on the dangers of vaping.”
To give communities an thought of the extent of the rise, Gibson presents statewide information evaluating 2018 to 2020.
• 2018: 12.7% of highschool college students in Georgia have been smoking e-cigarettes (58,500)
• 2020: 17% of highschool college students within the state have been smoking e-cigarettes (78,300)
Vapor merchandise embody e-cigarettes, e-cigars, e-cigarillos and e-pipes.
To counter the uptick, the Coastal Health District Chronic Disease Prevention Program is working with group companions to remind retailers in regards to the Tobacco 21 regulation, which was handed in July 2020.
In accordance with the regulation, it’s unlawful to promote or barter cigarettes, tobacco merchandise, tobacco-related objects, various nicotine merchandise, or vapor merchandise to anybody underneath the age of 21. It is also illegal for a person to buy any of the merchandise for a person underneath 21 and for any particular person to make use of a vape product inside a college security zone.
The regulation was handed following the National Youth Tobacco Survey in 2019 by the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control that confirmed a startling fee of e-cigarette use amongst youth, prompting the surgeon normal to say it was growing “at a rate of epidemic proportions.” The survey indicated greater than 5 million center faculty and highschool youth have been vaping each day.
“The law went into effect in the summer of 2020 and like so many other things, it may have been overshadowed by the pandemic,” Gibson mentioned.
Violation of the regulation is a misdemeanor.
“We want to make sure licensed tobacco retailers understand that when it comes to keeping youth and young adults tobacco free, they play a pivotal role,” Gibson mentioned.
The Coastal Health District contains the counties of Glynn, Camden, McIntosh, Liberty, Long, Bryan, Chatham and Effingham.
The marketing campaign follows an outreach program carried out in Chatham County.
“We did a targeted outreach to 20 tobacco retailers in Chatham County in high-risk areas, particularly near schools,” Gibson mentioned. “Typically we would visit retailers that had a history of noncompliance. However, the compliance check data we had access to during the outreach period had not been updated since 2019.”
Compliance checks have been suspended as a result of COVID-19.
“Those 20 retailers have been given letters detailing the importance of the law and its positive impact on community health, particularly protecting our youth from the dangers of tobacco use, as well as public health’s offer of support for the law’s enforcement,” Gibson mentioned.
“We are providing retailers window clings with required verbiage. We will be sending these letters to tobacco retailers in all of our eight Coastal Health District counties, including Glynn, between now and September.”
The well being division reminds tobacco customers that free assist is obtainable for Georgia residents 13 years of age and older who wish to stop smoking, vaping or utilizing tobacco by calling the Tobacco Quit Line at 877-270-7867.
The service gives counseling and assist 24 hours a day, seven days per week. Nicotine alternative therapies within the type of gum or patch are additionally accessible by way of the Quit Line.
Anyone who needs to stop using vape merchandise can enroll in This is Quitting by texting VAPEFREEGA to 88709, a free service.