Last month, San Francisco became the first major U.S. city to ban the sale of vape products within city limits. Now residents in the central California city of Livermore are also taking a stand against vaping products and the companies that make them, such as JUUL.
On July 8, Livermore’s city council voted unanimously to ban not just the sale of vaping devices but flavored tobacco products as well. The push for better vaping restrictions was born out of the frustration of parents in the community whose children, like millions of others across the country, have become hooked on JUUL.
Even kids who don’t smoke have to trudge through school corridors and bathrooms thick with vaping smog.
Kristie Wang, the co-founder of Flavors Hook Kids, a group that lobbied for the vape ban, told San Francisco’s ABC 7/KGO News that she believes it will go far in sparing Livermore’s youths from the grip of JUUL and other vape makers. She echoed the warning of former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) chief Scott Gottlieb that vaping has become an epidemic in the U.S.
In December 2018, U.S. researchers estimated that more than 3 million middle and high school students vape regularly. From 2017 to 2018, the number of high schoolers who reported vaping increased 78%, and public health officials say that 2019’s numbers could look a lot worse.
The most troubling problem with youth vaping and nicotine addiction in general is the adverse impact it has on the developing brain. Nicotine impedes the proper growth of the brain, which continues into the 20s. Regular nicotine use may prevent the brain’s physical, cognitive, intellectual and emotional capacities from reaching their optimum potential.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the number of high school students who said it was “fairly easy” or “very easy” to obtain vaping products increased from 7% to nearly 10% in 2017, depending on grade. In fact, 80.5% of 12th grade students said obtaining vaping products was more or less easy for them.
“Teens are clearly attracted to the marketable technology and flavorings seen in vaping devices,” Nora D. Volkow, National Institute on Drug Abuse director, said a release. “However, it is urgent that teens understand the possible effects of vaping on overall health, the development of the teen brain and the potential for addiction.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 80% of teens said that they either didn’t know what was in their JUUL or other vape brand or mistakenly believed it consisted of flavorings only. It wasn’t until last year that JUUL and other vape makers were required to alert consumers to the presence of nicotine in their products.
Livermore’s ban on vape sales is set to go into effect in January. Ms. Wang said told ABC 7/KGO that other California jurisdictions that have passed similar measures to combat youth vaping have been successful.
“In 36 jurisdictions in California, where they have used local policy to fight this, it has been extremely effective in bringing down youth rates of purchase,” she said.
Beasley Allen lawyers Joseph VanZandt and Sydney Everett are investigating cases of serious adverse health effects related to JUUL vaping, such as seizures, nicotine addiction, nicotine poisoning, breathing problems, behavioral and psychological problems, and other serious health conditions.