Romney: Vape Products Should Be Taxed In Same Way As Cigarettes
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and local health officials on Thursday addressed the vaping crisis during a round table discussion at Primary Children’s Hospital.
The discussion came one day after the Utah Department of Health reported the first death in the state linked to a vaping-related illness that’s killed nearly 20 people nationwide.
Medical professionals at the roundtable said that, despite repeated messages advising people to stop, many people continue to use e-cigarettes — including students in middle and high school.
One doctor reported seeing a patient as young as 12 with the vaping-related illness. The doctor said the pre-teen did not know there was nicotine in the product. According to a report from Primary Children’s Hospital, two-thirds of teens don’t think Juul products contain nicotine.
“Many young people think this is perfectly safe — they’re just breathing steam,” Romney said. “It’s not safe, and we haven’t communicated that as we should have.”
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He said legislation being drafted will propose taxing vaping products in the same manner as cigarettes, using the revenue to advertise the dangers of the products and education youth on how similar vaping is to smoking.
The UDOH reported 76 cases of vaping-related lung injuries currently in the state, with another 14 potential cases under investigation. More than 90% those people were hospitalized, and 94% percent of Utah cases self-reported vaping THC.
Doctors are suggesting using a variety of methods to inform young people of the dangers of vaping, including social media campaigns and parental education.