A ban on flavored e-cigarettes has been proposed in Pennsylvania, following the lead of New Jersey and several other states that are scrambling to restrict access to vaping products, which have contributed to a spike in nicotine use among teenagers.
The bill, introduced Oct. 25 by State Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski (D., Luzerne), would prohibit stores from selling flavored vaping products, with penalties starting at $500.
“It’s time for Pennsylvania to combat this recent spike in teen tobacco product usage and the public health concerns that come with it,” Pashinski said in a statement announcing the legislation.
President Donald Trump has said he plans to ban flavored e-cigarettes and Juul, a leading e-cigarette maker, has halted online sales of four popular flavors — mango, crème, fruit, and cucumber.
The outcry over e-cigarettes comes in response to a surge of severe lung illnesses related to vaping that has sickened hundreds of people and has led to several deaths nationwide, including one each in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.
Federal investigators have yet to link all the cases to a specific product or ingredient, though many of the cases involved vaping THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. The sickness has been most common among young adults who are otherwise healthy.
Vaping has risen in popularity among teenagers and young adults, driving an increase in tobacco use even as combustible cigarette smoking rates remain steady. The fruit and candy-flavored vaping pods targeted by state and federal regulators have been especially popular choices among young users.
The Pennsylvania bill would also set fines starting at $250 for individuals who sell flavored e-cigarettes. The penalty for buying flavored e-cigarettes would be a fine of up to $200 and 75 hours of community service.