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Youth Vaping Hearings

from Prepared by: Dodie Wellshear, Ad Astra Government Relations

Raising the minimum age for purchase of electronic cigarettes and tobacco products, from 18- to 21-years of age, is a leading 2019 KAFP legislative priority. The health harm of tobacco products and nicotine addiction is now a long-established fact. Less known – yet, at least, equally dangerous – are the impacts of electronic cigarettes or “vaping.”

Although the harm of tobacco is long known, 17.1% of Kansas high school students use tobacco, according to a KDHE tobacco use survey. And if anyone doubts the tobacco industry’s focused targeting of young people, a 1986 quote from a Philip Morris report dispels doubt: “Raising the legal minimum age for cigarette purchaser to 21 could gut our key young adult market.”

While tobacco use remains an important health threat, the growing use of e-cigarettes, vapes, and JUULs – especially among youth – is reaching what many now consider epidemic proportions. Schools in Kansas are reporting growing use of vaping devices in students as young as 6th grade.

There is currently no FDA oversight of the manufacturing of these products, which also means there is no oversight into the ingredients going into vaping cartridges. Law enforcement reports confiscated devices go beyond nicotine to ingredients such as THC and other illegal substances. A known ingredient of many e-cigarettes, acrolein, causes irreversible lung damage.

JUULs are more discreet in that they don't produce vapor or noticeable emissions when used, but contain as much as 70 times more nicotine than a single cigarette. They are a type of e-cigarette, but look similar to a USB drive. All of this makes them much harder to detect.

The vape industry is clearly targeting the youth market, with 31% of youth using these saying they do so because of the availability of “flavors such as mint, candy, fruit or chocolate.” Targeting youth is especially insidious because 90% of lifelong smokers develop nicotine addiction by the time they are age 21.

KAFP and American Cancer Society lobbyists worked jointly to secure a briefing in the House Health and Human Services Committee on Monday, February 4th. At KAFP’s Advocacy Day reception, we were able to also secure the same in the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee on Tuesday, February 12th. These hearings are informational only, providing an opportunity to introduce e-cigarette/vaping/JUULs and their dangers to legislators.
Information Sources: The Case for T21 and American Lung Association

Bills to Watch
HB 2029 – Repealing the health care compact.
Status: Referred to House Health & Human Services

SB 54/ HB 2102 - Expanding eligibility for Medicaid benefits to the extent permitted by the Affordable Care Act.
Status: Referred to House Health & Human Services and House Appropriations Committees, respectively

HB 2066 – Expanding the APRN scope of practice. The bill proposes removing the requirement to practice under a collaborative physician agreement and requires them to have malpractice insurance. Key to this bill is that they would not be regulated by the Board of Healing Arts. This bill does not define practice limitations and would allow them to practice beyond their training (e.g., surgery). Simply put, APRNs are asking for a scope of practice equal to that of physicians, but refuse to be regulated by the Board of Healing Arts, which regulates all other professionals engaging in medical practice.
Status: Scheduled for a public hearing in House Health & Human Se more

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