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Oregon lawmakers approve ban on online sales of vaping products, to protect youth

KTVZ file

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) – The Oregon Senate approved House Bill 2261 on Wednesday, a move that supporters said will limit Oregon’s youth from accessing nicotine products by closing loopholes that have allowed underage Oregonians to purchase inhalant delivery systems or vape products, also known as electronic cigarettes, e-cigs or vapes.

“The use of vaping products by our youth is shocking,” said Sen. Kathleen Taylor (D-Portland) who has worked to protect young Oregonians from the dangers of tobacco and nicotine since she began her service in the Legislature. “No matter how diligent our retailers are, there is still significant access to these products online.”

In 2015, Taylor championed House Bill 2464 to make certain access and use laws around inhalant delivery systems aligned with that of other tobacco products. The bill added age restrictions on purchasing and defined where the use of vape products is allowed.

“Vaping is harmful to our youth. Not only is it habit forming, the nicotine contained in these products can have lasting effects on kids’ still-developing brains,” said Taylor. “The use of these products continues to rise, and they contain products and chemicals that are highly addictive. Oregon’s licensed retailers have agreed to do the right thing, protect our kids, and sell only to those of legal age. Ensuring a face-to-face exchange is required for purchasing these products, we remove a loophole that may be used that can result in lifelong addiction and negative health outcomes.”

Oregon prohibited the online sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products from taking place online in 2017. Oregon brings inhalant delivery system sales in line with that policy.

House Bill 2261 passed the Oregon House on April 10 and Wednesday in the Senate with bipartisan support. It now goes to the governor for her signature.

Attorney General Rosenblum Praises Online Vape Sales Ban

SALEM, OREGON—Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum today applauded the Oregon legislature for passing legislation that will close a loophole that allows underage Oregonians to purchase vaping products over the internet. Under the bill that was passed today, HB 2261, all nicotine vaping devices and components will no longer be able to be sold online. 

The bill had previously passed out of the Oregon House with near-unanimous approval, and today passed out of the Oregon Senate. It now moves to the Governor’s desk for signature. 

“There is no effective way to verify an age or stop minors from purchasing these products over the internet. In Oregon, you cannot buy cigarettes online, and there is no good reason to be able to buy vape products online either, ” said Attorney General Rosenblum. “Despite steep declines in the rate of underage cigarette smoking, increasing e-cigarette use among teenagers is threatening years of public health progress. If we want to make real progress in lowering rates of teenage vaping, we need to close this online sales loophole.”

E-cigarette use is a significant – and avoidable – health risk to young Oregonians. In 2019, 1 in 4 high school students and 1 in 10 middle schools students in the United States reported that they had vaped with an electronic cigarette in the past 30 days.

Among other ingredients, the vapor in these products includes heavy metals, cancer-causing chemicals, volatile organic compounds, flavoring linked to serious health disease and nicotine – which is especially toxic for adolescents with developing brains. E-cigarettes are marketed in kid-friendly flavors and models that come in shapes and sizes that look like USB flash drives.

Last year, Attorney General Rosenblum announced that Oregon was leading a 39-state investigation involving marketing and sales tactics of Juul Labs, which sells nicotine pods for vaping devices. The multi-state investigation is ongoing. 

“I want to thank Representative Pam Marsh and Senator Kathleen Taylor for championing this bill and seeing it through to the finish line. It has become increasingly clear that way too many Oregon kids are getting hooked on e-cigarettes and other devices like vape pens. By eliminating the sale of these products online, we are making one major step forward,” continued Attorney General Rosenblum. 

Article Topic Follows: Health

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