On September 16, 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an Executive Order to help address the vaping epidemic that is addicting young people to nicotine contained in e-cigarettes, and prevent health risks such as the severe lung illnesses that are spreading throughout the country.

We applaud Governor Newsom for taking swift action to protect California’s youth from a lifetime of addiction to nicotine.  His Executive Order sends a strong message to youth and adults about these unregulated electronic smoking devices–which come in many forms including e-cigarettes, vape pens, e-hookah, tanks and mods, JUUL, Mark-Ten, and other devices that can be used to vape nicotine or marijuana–and it will provide additional regulation, attention, and funding to help combat this urgent public health crisis.

The Executive Order spells out actions that will be taken, including establishing warning signs about the health risks of vaping at retailers and in advertisements, increasing enforcement of illegal sales to youth, establishing nicotine content standards and uniform packaging, developing recommendations to remove illegal and counterfeit vaping products from stores, and requiring the Department of Public Health to allocate $20 million in tobacco and marijuana funds to develop a vaping awareness campaign aimed at youth and parents.

This new state support is welcome and will complement the work already underway in communities across California to end the sale of flavored tobacco products at all retailers, including menthol cigarettes and flavored vaping products, in order to reduce access to the flavored products that are hooking young people to nicotine addiction.

The health concerns about vaping products continue to increase. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is currently investigating the cause of 530 confirmed and probable cases* of vaping-related severe lung illness in 36 states, with 7 confirmed deaths, including two in California. Many individuals reported recent use of vaping products containing THC, while others used nicotine products and some used both nicotine and THC.

Regardless of the type of vaping product, e-liquid, or device manufacturer, these products are not safe despite the message broadly touted by e-cigarette companies and enthusiasts since the introduction of these products over 10 years ago.

*as of 9/17/19 CDC is reporting 530 confirmed and probable cases of lung injury in 38 states and 1 territory, with 7 deaths confirmed in 6 states (CA, IL, IN, KS, MN, OR)

Additional Reading:

CDC: Outbreak of Lung Disease Associated with E-Cigarette Use, or Vaping

September 11, 2019: Federal Announcement Welcomed; Locals Lead the Way on Removing Flavored Tobacco

September 6, 2019: Fourth Confirmed Death Due to Severe Lung Illness Resulting from use of Electronic Smoking Devices