DC, Md. lawmakers target youth vaping

Maryland and D.C. lawmakers are cracking down on youth vaping.

On Tuesday, D.C. lawmakers proposed a ban on sales of flavored e-cigarettes and a measure requiring a prescription to purchase electronic smoking products.

“What I’m most concerned about is that we are quite literally watching a new generation of young people get hooked on nicotine through vaping,” Ward 7 Councilmember Vince Gray, who introduced the bill. ” … Oftentimes, [they are] consuming vastly more nicotine than through traditional smoking.”

The measure would ban the sale of vaping products at locations that are not medical marijuana dispensaries or pharmacies.

Gray said that the only positive use vaping may have is as a means to quit smoking or as an alternative to smoking cigarettes. But until more is known and researched on those methods, “vaping products should be carefully monitored by a physician through a prescription.”

Starting Oct. 1, Maryland businesses that sell nicotine products will be barred from selling to anyone under 21. This includes e-cigarettes, pod devices, e-liquids and accessories.

Next, Maryland state lawmakers plan to ban flavored e-cigarettes, according to Maryland Del. Dereck Davis, chair of the House Economic Matters Committee.

Davis said he is working to draft legislation with Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh.

“We’re not certain that the feds are going to follow through or be as vigilant as we would be on this issue,” Davis said, which is why Maryland is not waiting on federal changes.

Davis sponsored House Bill 1169, the law that goes into effect next month. He said there was little pushback to raising the age for tobacco purchases, though there was testimony from businesses concerned about the impact of the “T21” legislation.

“You don’t want to put anyone out of business; that’s never our goal,” Davis said, “But the public health has to come first.”

One exemption written into law allows for members of the military who are 18 and up to purchase tobacco, e-cigarettes, chewing tobacco and other nicotine products.

Montgomery County lawmakers announced their intention Monday to move ahead with a ban on the sale of vaping products within half-a-mile of a middle or high school.

A separate measure would bar manufacturers of vaping products from distributing products to any retail shop within half-a-mile of middle and high schools.

WTOP’s Jennifer Ortiz and Megan Cloherty contributed to this article.

This article was written by WTOP’s news partners at Maryland Matters and republished with permission. Sign up for Maryland Matters’ free email subscription today.

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