The Chicago City Council voted overwhelmingly to pass an ordinance Wednesday that would ban the sale of flavored vaping products within city limits, a move officials say is designed to keep young people from beginning to use the products.
According to a press release, the ordinance specifically targets “liquid nicotine products that create the taste of, or aroma of, menthol, mint, wintergreen, chocolate, vanilla, cocoa, candy or dessert,” among other flavored-additives.
“With flavors like candy and chocolate, these products are designed to entice youth, and we as a city have a responsibility to do everything we can to prevent that from happening,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement.
According to Dr. Allison Arwady, director of the Chicago Department of Public Health, smoking among teens is at an historic low, but the use of vaping products has been on the rise in the city.
“The growing vaping epidemic is unacceptable, as are the increasing inequities in tobacco use,” she said. “To advance health and equity, we must keep going.”
Lightfoot said that her administration believes that flavored-vaping products are designed to get young residents “addicted to nicotine.”
“We made a hugely important step in keeping our residents, particularly our young people, healthy with the City Council’s vote to ban the sale of flavored vaping products in Chicago,” Lightfoot said. “These products, no doubt about it, are designed to get our young people hooked. The tobacco industry is looking for its next generation of people who are addicted to nicotine, and we as a city have a responsibility to do everything that we can to keep that from happening.”
Lightfoot says that the city has committed itself to “further action on vaping and tobacco,” and will announce more initiatives in the coming weeks and months.
Even with city officials saying that vaping rates among teens are on the rise, new data released by the federal government suggests that vaping usage among teenagers is actually on the decline. According to the survey, just under 20% of high school students said they were “recent users of electronic cigarettes and other vaping products.”
That is a large decline from a similar survey released in 2019, which found that 28% of high school students said they had recently vaped. This year, 5% of middle school respondents said they had used vaping products, compared to 11% last year.
The survey, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, polled more than 20,000 middle and high school students, according to the report.