The chair of Kentucky’s Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow says placing an excise tax on vaping products would help reduce e-cigarette use among youth. Supporters of such a move rallied Tuesday at the state capitol.
Coalition Head Ben Chandler noted the excise tax provision was included in a bill two years ago, but didn’t make it into the final version. He feels more confident of passage this session. “We have more optimism about it because it’s become so clear in the last two years what an epidemic we have on our hands. We’ve had 57 people across the country die from vaping and we’ve had thousands of people sickened by vaping activities,” said Chandler.
According to the coalition, vaping has increased four-fold among middle and nearly doubled among high school students from 2017 to 2019. McCracken County High School’s Abby Hefner said she believes three out of four students vape at her Western Kentucky school. “I personally dealt with it by just cutting it all out and just going cold turkey and completely dropping everything. Was that hard?... It was very difficult yet….and why?...I had withdrawals from it. I would get headaches and get nauseous from not having it,” said Hefner.
The health advocacy group is also pushing for a state law increasing the age for purchase and possession of tobacco products from 18 to 21 and more money to educate Kentuckians about the health concerns associated with e-cigarettes.
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