HomeSouth CarolinaSouth Carolina legislators seek state-approved vape registry to combat teen vaping epidemic

South Carolina legislators seek state-approved vape registry to combat teen vaping epidemic

Columbia, South Carolina – South Carolina lawmakers are making progress on a plan that would create a state-legal vape registry. This is a big step toward stopping teens from vaping, which is becoming more popular trend even though is considered nearly as dangerous as smoking cigarettes. This legislative effort aims to make sure that vape shops can only sell products that have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The main goal of this effort is to protect young people from the allure of nicotine through vape products with catchy names.

Senator Brad Hutto is the lead sponsor of the bill

Senator Brad Hutto, one of the main supporters of the bill, stressed how important it is to keep kids from becoming addicted to nicotine through vape goods, which he called “attractive nuisances.” According to the FDA, the number of high school students vaping has increased by 2,617% since 2019. This is what worries Hutto. An impressive 50% of high school students in South Carolina have said they have used these goods, many of which have catchy names like “Strawberry Watermelon” or “Sweet Tart” but are not FDA-approved.

Vaping is a problem among teens that can be seen in schools all over the state, not just as a number. Mikayla Swindler, a replacement teacher in Richland School District One, talked to WLTX about what she saw when she saw how many people were vaping.

“You see kids hiding vapes under their sleeves, you see kids asking to go to the bathroom often, more than they should, outside kids walk, they vape,” Swindler noted, highlighting the pervasive nature of this issue.

Read also: Advocacy groups gathered outside State House to protest the new environmental bill

Thomas Alexander is a cosponsor

The bill, which was written by Senators Hutto and Thomas Alexander, would require all FDA-approved vape goods to be listed in a formal database. The State Attorney General would be in charge of this register, which would make it illegal to sell any product that isn’t on it. Retailers who break this rule would face harsh punishments, such as fines and even losing their business licenses.

However, the bill has faced criticism from several quarters. Vape shop owners say that the law will have a big effect on their businesses. On the other hand, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network thinks that the register is not enough to stop teens from vaping. They want stronger steps to be taken to fight this problem, like raising the tax on cigarettes and making the rules for flavored vapes tighter.

A spokeswoman for the network named Beth Johnson was skeptical about the bill’s possible effects.

“There is no proven data that this bill will really impact youth who start using tobacco products or the adults who really want to quit,” said Beth Johnson. “We respect the legislators who are working to do something but We don’t feel like this bill goes far enough and there’s certainly more that we can do.”

Read also: South Carolina House Committee proposes $4,500 raise for starting teachers to combat teacher shortage

The rules expected to take effect from September this year

Even with these problems, the push for the vape product registry is part of a larger attempt to deal with the problem of teens vaping. If passed, the register must be up and running by September 1, 2024. This could set an example for other states to follow.

Read also: Last call for education aid: South Carolina’s school voucher program application deadline approaching

Twenty-four states are currently thinking about similar laws. This shows that teens vaping and the ease of access to flavored vape goods, which are already against FDA rules, are becoming bigger problems across the country.

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