The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services on Tuesday issued a proposed rule that would end the sale of flavored e-cigarettes to youth.
The proposal, which is scheduled for a public hearing later this week and again in July, would eliminate the sale, marketing and advertising of flavored electronic smoking products to Montana youth.
“This is a serious health issue in Montana that is causing major health consequences for our youth, driving a lifelong addiction to nicotine,” said Sheila Hogan, director of the state health department.
According to the health department, Montana ranks above the national average in youth vaping rates. Nearly 60% of Montana high school students and 30% of middle school students have tried vaping.
In 2019, nearly 1 in 10 Montana high school students vaped daily, marking a 263% increase over 2017. Roughly 70% of students who tried tobacco used a flavored product.
The American Cancer Society Action Network on Tuesday backed the plan to ban the product’s sale to youth in Montana.
“Kids will turn to whatever flavored tobacco products are sold, so we need local communities to end the sale of all these flavored products, including menthol cigarettes, flavored cigars, hookah and smokeless chewing tobacco,” said Kristin Page Nei with the Cancer Society.
Montana teens use e-cigarettes at twice the national average, and more is being learned about the health effects of vaping. Research has shown that youth who use e-cigarettes are four times more likely to become smokers, according to the health department.
Massachusetts was the first state to restrict the sale of all flavored tobacco products. New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island also have restricted the sale of flavored e-cigarettes.
Over 270 local cities and counties across the country have enacted restrictions on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes, from Colorado to Minnesota to Massachusetts.
“To effectively curb youth tobacco use, we also need to prohibit e-cigarette use everywhere smoking is prohibited, significantly increase the tax on all tobacco products including e-cigarettes, and fully fund a tobacco control program that prevents kids from starting and supports those who are trying to quit.