HARTFORD, CT – Gov. Ned Lamont will propose legislation Wednesday to ban the sale of flavored vaping products as part of his budget adjustment.
Supporters of the ban say flavored tobacco products are particularly popular with younger users.
Last month the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced it was banning the sale of flavored vaping products from small, cartridge-based e-cigarettes, but not from the large tank devices sold largely at “vape shops.”
Lamont has signaled a willingness to move forward with a flavor ban because it’s unlikely the federal government will take significant action. However, he needs the legislature’s approval to move forward with it.
“I don’t know what I can do by executive order but I’m going to be very strong doing it forward at least get something in a bill before the legislature as soon as I can,” Lamont said a few months ago.
According to senior administration sources, Lamont will also seek to cap the maximum amount of nicotine in vape products sold in Connecticut to make them less addictive. The proposal calls for the creation of two special investigators at the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Service to conduct compliance checks.
Lamont will also call for a 50% wholesale tax on vaping liquid, which is the same tax treatment received by traditional tobacco products. Lamont also wants to double penalties for selling to minors from $300 to $600 for the first offense and $750 to $1,500 for the second and $1,000 to $2,000 for the third.
The governor is also looking to require schools to include vaping prevention in their health education programs.
Advocates said the need for Connecticut to take additional action is more urgent than ever, with the youth vaping epidemic continuing its alarming rise to 27.5% or more than one in four high school students. This is a staggering 135% increase in high school e-cigarette use in just the past two years, according to the American Lung Association.
As of January 21, a total of 2,711 people across the United States have been hospitalized with injuries associated with e-cigarettes or vaping products, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Of those, 60 deaths have been confirmed in 27 states, including one in Connecticut.