February 7, 2017
Allies for Children joined more than a dozen child and health advocates at Allegheny County Council’s public hearing Monday regarding proposed e-cigarette legislation. County Council is considering the health department’s proposal to limit the use of e-cigarettes or vaporizers in locations where combustible cigarette use is already prohibited.
Since Pennsylvania’s Clean Indoor Air Act does not include e-cigarettes in its definition of products prohibited for use indoors, local government must protect children and others from unwanted exposure.
At Monday’s meeting, several panelists shared reasons why County Council should support the proposal and protect children from e-cigarette exposure.
The health of youth is a major public health concern and the use of e-cigarettes in public places promotes the normalization of the behavior of smoking with youth. While some will argue that the use of cigarettes in youth has gone down, which it has, they fail to mention the incredible rise of youth who use e-cigarettes. ~Brittany Huffman, program coordinator for Tobacco Free Allegheny
Research has shown that e-cigarettes seem to be the ideal starter cigarette for young people. The fruity flavors and fancy packaging makes it really appealing for middle schoolers. Banana flavor? Really? So in that context we now have thousands of young people–and that number is increasing every year–who are addicted to nicotine, and that is then tied to at least a twofold increase in their likelihood of engaging in cigarette smoking. This is about that gullible adolescent brain that I want us to focus on. If we allow e-cigarettes and vaping in a different category, the message that we’re sending to young people is that e-cigarettes are kind of, sort of OK. ~Dr. Elizabeth Miller, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh’s division of adolescent and young adult medicine chief
If you missed Monday’s meeting, there is still time to urge County Council members to support the proposal to treat indoor e-cigarette smoking exactly the same as cigarette smoking in public places and workplaces. Click here to sign the Women for a Healthy Environment’s petition, which will be presented at the next County Council meeting on February 21st.
You can also contact your County Council member directly to express your concern about e-cigarette exposure by calling 412-350-6490. Click here to find your representative’s name, telephone number and email.