FORT SMITH, Ark. (KFSM) – A ban on flavored e-cigarette products is on the horizon.
President Donald Trump announced Wednesday (Sept. 11) his administration will propose a ban on thousands of flavors to combat underage vaping.
Earlier this week, the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement released data showing 44 percent of Arkansas high school seniors said they’ve tried some type of vapor cigarette. The data also revealed 1 in 5 admitted to being habitual users.
Lauren Vaughn is from Fort Smith and the mother of a young boy. Vaughn said the rise in underage vaping brings major concerns.
“Oh it is scary because you don’t know the long term effects of it,” Vaughn said.
Vaughn spent the evening at the park with her son and says just in the few hours they were there she noticed the presence of e-cigarettes among teenagers.
“I think there were some here,” Vaughn said. “They would go out to their cars and vape.”
Being a mother of a young son, Vaughn said she can see why teens are tempted to try e-cigarettes.
“It all just sounds like candy and it sounds like stuff kids would like,” Vaughn said. “It's all appealing to them”
President Trump announced today his intentions to crack down on flavored vapor cigarette products that appeal to young kids like cotton candy and bubble gum. The Trump Administration looks to ban all flavors except tobacco.
Russellville school administrators spoke out on the topic as well after seeing an increase in use among teens.
Mark Gotcher is the Russellville School District Superintendent and says this school year students caught vaping face up to five days out of school suspension and up to five days in the student detention center.
Aside from punishment, Gotcher says education is the most important factor when dealing with e-cigarette usage among students.
“If we can get students to become more aware of this I think they can be our strongest ally in this,” Gotcher said. “If their perception can change of the initial thought that it was safe I think our students can provide that positive peer pressure."
The FDA will develop guidelines to remove all e-cigarette flavors other than tobacco in the near future. It will take several weeks to develop the proposed flavor restrictions which will be subject to public input before taking effect.