SPRINGFIELD (IRN) — Illinois lawmakers heard from representatives from the vaping industry Monday during a hearing to address problems associated with vaping use, including use by teens.
Even as federal lawmakers look to ban flavored e-cigarettes, elected officials in Illinois could move ahead state-level legislation.
lawmakers and representatives from the vaping industry had a chance to present their side of a possible ban of flavored e-cigarettes.
Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, along with other lawmakers, has called for legislation to ban flavored nicotine. They hope the ban would lead to a decrease in teen use of vaping products. Raoul said he wants more than just the flavor ban. He said he wanted to see a “comprehensive approach to protect Illinois residents from the health dangers of using e-cigarettes.”
Raoul said he worried teen use of e-cigarettes would lead to a higher instance of traditional cigarette use by teenagers.
“You have youth who have never laid their hands on cigarettes, who begin using e-cigarette devices, then it’s a gateway to using combustible cigarettes,” he said.
Raoul said his office was also investigating the e-cigarette black market.
Victoria Vasconcellos owns several vape shops in the Chicago area. She is also president of the Smoke Free Alternatives Coalition of Illinois. She said outlawing flavored nicotine products won’t necessarily lead to fewer teens using vaping products. She said it could result in fewer adults choosing vaping over traditional cigarettes.
“There are no studies that say taking away flavors is going to reduce youth use,” Vasconcellos said. “There are studies that say taking away flavors will reduce the appeal of e-cigs for adults.”
Health officials have said 69 people in Illinois have become seriously ill after vaping and one person has died as authorities investigate hundreds of similar cases across the country.