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Ohio State Senate Squashes Vape Flavor Bans

Last week, the Ohio State Senate voted to override Governor Mike DeWine’s veto of House Bill 513. In December 2022, the Ohio State Legislature passed the bill, which bans communities from enacting local ordinances to protect children from tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. 

The American Lung Association in Ohio is vehemently against the bill, stating that the percentage of tobacco use among young people is higher in Ohio than in any other state. In its initial statement in 2022, the association called for DeWine to “put Ohio’s children before tobacco industry profits, and veto House Bill 315.”1“Lung Association Condemns Ohio’s Tobacco Industry Bill,” American Lung Association, [Online]. Available: https://www.lung.org/media/press-releases/oh-preemption-bill

DeWine rose to the occasion in a very public manner. Whereas most veto votes are made in silence, DeWine hosted a press conference to discuss the importance of banning e-liquid flavors for the sake of young people. Speaking on House Bill 513, he said, “This measure is not – is not in the public interest.”2N. Evans, “Ohio Gov. DeWine vetoes tobacco measure that would prohibit local bans,” Ohio Capital Journal, Jan. 6, 2023. [Online]. Available: https://ohiocapitaljournal.com/2023/01/06/ohio-gov-dewine-vetoes-tobacco-measure-that-would-prohibit-local-bans/ He went on to say, “When a local community wants to make the decision to ban these flavors to protect their children, we should applaud those decisions.”3“Gov. Mike DeWine vetoes flavored tobacco ban bill, signals support for statewide ban,” The Columbus Dispatch, Jan. 5, 2023. [Online]. Available: https://www.dispatch.com/story/news/politics/state/2023/01/05/mike-dewine-vetoes-bill-over-who-regulates-flavored-tobacco-vapes/69741688007/

DeWine has been an advocate against vaping for years, with a particular focus on flavored e-liquids. In 2004, DeWine, who was a U.S. Senator at the time, teamed up with U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy to pass a piece of legislation allowing the FDA to ban new flavored cigarettes and marketing to children. Over a decade later, in 2019, DeWine issued a statement showing his continued dislike of vape flavors, saying, “We must take necessary steps to protect Ohio’s young people from the cycle of addiction.”4“Governor DeWine Calls for Legislation to Ban Flavored Vaping Liquids,” RecoveryOhio, Dec. 27, 2019. [Online]. Available: https://recoveryohio.gov/home/news-and-events/all-news/govdewine-calls-for-legislation-to-ban-flavored-vaping-liquids

A 2019 survey found that nearly 30% of high school students and 12% of middle school students in Ohio use flavored tobacco or vaping products5Ohio Department of Health, “YRBS/YTS Governor Report,” Feb. 24, 2020. [Online]. Available: https://odh.ohio.gov/wps/wcm/connect/gov/b17cb12d-8de9-4fc5-96b0-26ced4f5ccb3/YRBS_YTS+Governor+Report_final_02.24.2020_.pdf, which is more than the national average. According to the CDC, flavorings in tobacco products can make them more appealing to young people. A 2021 survey of young people in the U.S. discovered that among students who currently use tobacco products, 80.2% of high school and 74.6% of middle school students reported using flavored tobacco products6A. S. Gentzke et al., “Tobacco Product Use and Associated Factors Among Middle and High School Students — United States, 2021,” in MMWR Surveill Summ, vol. 71, no. 5, pp. 1–29, Mar. 11, 2022. [Online]. Available: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/71/ss/ss7105a1.htm.

Given the anti-vape rhetoric that has been swirling around the U.S. for years, it is surprising to see such an unequivocally vape-positive bill. The statistics don’t lie, so why did lawmakers want to pass House Bill 513 in the first place? 

“The legislators who voted to override the veto said they did so to protect jobs and small businesses in their respective communities,”7Haley Bemiller, “Columbus Dispatch” Online]. Available: https://eu.dispatch.com/story/news/politics/2024/01/24/ohio-senate-overrides-dewine-veto-to-block-local-flavored-tobacco-bans/72285578007/ said Dustin Holfinger, State Government Relations Director for the American Heart Association. “When did vape shops and tobacco retailers become pillars of our communities and public health ignored?” 

“It’s a big win for Big Tobacco,”8Haley Bemiller, “Columbus Dispatch” Online]. Available: https://eu.dispatch.com/story/news/politics/2024/01/24/ohio-senate-overrides-dewine-veto-to-block-local-flavored-tobacco-bans/72285578007/ DeWine told reporters after the Ohio State Senate squashed his veto. “They’ve lobbied this. They’ve been all over this. They want this. Children are going to suffer because of this.” 

Regardless of whether House Bill 513 is a thinly veiled attempt to protect the market share of Big Vape, it will go into effect in 90 days.

Sources

Viki Howlett
Viki Howlett
Viki Howlett, a skilled writer with a decade of vaping experience, enriches our website with engaging, well-researched articles, offering readers valuable insights and trustworthy reviews on vaping products and trends.
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