A new direction for Virginia: Old enough to drive but not to buy e-cigs
November 12, 20232 min read
E-cigarette use among middle and high school children is rising at such a steep rate that it could leave even the most experienced mountain climber reeling. As such, the State of Virginia is seeking to raise the legal purchasing age from 18 to 21 under the STATES Act. Coming as a great surprise to many,the legislation in Virginia gained ground when it was first passed by the Senate in January 2019 and then by the House in February. Its aim is to put an end to vaping among youths.
Virginia’s history has its roots set deep in the tobacco industry. But there is no denying the need to implement measures to deter and preserve its future teachers, doctors, politicians, and engineers. And while the only individual standing in the way of full legislation, Gov. Ralph Northem, has not indicated his intent.
If there was ever any doubt that a problem existed,statistics as recent as last year proved that e-cigarette use among the under-aged population has reached alarming proportions. A recent CDC report indicated that the use of tobacco products among middle and high schoolers has increased by around 1.3 million. The current count is 4.9 million students!
The Bill has seemed to establish itself as a happy medium for both lawmakers and advocates against teen vaping and cigarette use. It will also impact e-cig and tobacco companies.
Tobacco bigwig, Altria, who just last year acquired a 35 percent stake in the infamous e-cig company, Juul, supports the Bill. A rather bold and questionable move on its part, spokesperson for the company, David Sutton, was quoted as saying:
“Tobacco harm reduction for adults cannot succeed without effective measures to reduce underage use of all tobacco products, and the best approach to achieving this goal is raising the minimum age for purchasing to 21”.
With the ball in his court, lawmakers are advocates of the Bill are hoping for a favorable response from Governor Northem. The hope is that he will stand in support of the Bill as he has done in the past with other anti-smoking legislation.