Health organizations respond to Gov. Ralph Northam's comments on e-cigarettes

RICHMOND, Va. – As more and more people using vapes, especially with illegally added substances, across the nation are falling ill, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced that he is considering a ban on e-cigarettes -- and health organizations across the commonwealth are urging him to take action. 

The American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids,, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and Tobacco Free Alliance of Virginia banded together to unanimously call for Northam to act.

The groups are calling for Northam to restrict the sale of all flavored tobacco products including menthol cigarettes. They're also urging him to levy a $1.80 comparable tax on all tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes.  

"The youth e-cigarette epidemic is nothing short of a public health emergency that must be urgently confronted," the statement reads. 

According to the statement, new preliminary data from the National Tobacco Youth Survey shows e-cigarette use has more than doubled since 2017 and that currently, 27.5 percent of high school students have used e-cigarettes in the last month. 

"Most kids initiate tobacco use with flavored tobacco products, making the removal of flavored e-cigarettes a critical step in addressing the epidemic and preventing tobacco use," the statement continues. "The current epidemic of youth e-cigarette use is threatening the health of Virginia children―permanent and immediate solutions to protect them from a lifetime of tobacco and nicotine addiction are needed now."  


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Samantha Smith joined WSLS 10’s award-winning digital team as a content producer in July 2018.