SANTA CLARITA (CBSLA) — Concerned parents packed Santa Clarita City Hall Wednesday night to hear from city, school and law enforcement officials about the growing use of e-cigarettes by teenagers as President Donald Trump called for a ban on flavored vape cartridges.
“My fear is that they’re going to try this and like it and then go on to harder and bigger drugs,” Claudia Poduska, a parent of two teens, said.
She and her husband brought their children to the meeting so they could hear firsthand about the dangers of vaping.
According to the school district, more students are vaping on campus. School officials said two 15-year-old girls had to be taken to the hospital after inadvertently vaping THC — the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis.
“I’ve heard those commercials with the crazy flavors, funny names and all that stuff,” Poduska said. “And I think they are directly marketing to kids, and I think that’s not OK.”
Poduska said she supports the full-flavor ban Trump announced Wednesday that would stop the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes — including mint and menthol. The exception would be tobacco flavors aimed at smokers trying to quit traditional cigarettes.
“A lot of people think vaping is wonderful, it’s great,” Trump said. “It’s really not wonderful.”
The announcement came as hundreds are being diagnosed with lung illnesses related to vaping — and at least six people have died.
But Geremy King, who works at Wolf Smoke & Vape Shop, said he does not think a full-flavor ban is the solution.
“If he gets rid of all the flavors in general, I feel like that would just cause more illegal purchases of the items, more kids getting a hold of them because it’s illegal to do it,” King said.
King believes the ban would unfairly hurt small businesses and those who are in the process of quitting smoking. He also said he disagrees with critics who say vaping companies and shops hook teens with fruity flavors, and said that his store ensures the safety of the products they sell and that customers are not underage.
“A lot of these health problems seem to be because of misuse,” King said.
The American Vaping Association said it was deeply disappointed by the president’s decision, and said that a full-flavor ban would only lead to the creation of another black market with zero safety controls.
Federal health officials said it would take the Food and Drug Administration several weeks to work out guidelines for the flavor ban.