State lawmakers are eyeing some measures, including levying a tax, to curb teen vaping, which the surgeon general has deemed an epidemic.
According to the surgeon general, vaping among high school students has climbed 75 percent in the last year and 50 percent among middle schoolers.
“My fear is that we are going to have a new generation of kids who are addicted to nicotine,” West Hartford Democrat Rep. Derek Slap said.
Slap is among the legislators determined to pass a law, which may include a state tax on e-cigarettes similar to the one on traditional cigarettes and regulating internet sales.
“Other states have matched the cigarette tax with the vaping tax, so essentially they have increased the cost. That serves as a deterrent, especially for younger folks.”
The owner of Vapor 9 in Newington said she is concerned that levying a tax could drive business over state lines or online.
“It’s just gonna be easier for the teenagers to get it online because they’re not checking,” Christine Mazzotta of Vapor 9 explained. “They can use someone else’s name. Anyone can go online. It’s one click on Amazon and boom, you got it.”
Lawmakers are also proposing banning flavors, many of which come in a variety of nicotine levels.
“Attacking flavors really isn’t the issue,” Mazzotta said. “Attacking the source of where the youth are acquiring these products is the main issue here.”
A public hearing on the various proposals is scheduled for January 8 in West Hartford.