A bill winding its way through the Connecticut General Assembly would ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes and tobacco products in the state. Lawmakers who sponsored the bill say the bill is needed to reduce nicotine addiction, which disproportionately affects young adults and people of color.
The ban would target vape products with fruit and dessert flavors, while allowing for tobacco flavored vapes. The bill would also prevent the sale of all menthol flavored products. “For many years I have watched my community suffer from the long-standing results of having this habit of smoking that they can’t seem to break; and we watch them suffer and lose their lives,” NAACP Bridgeport Chapter President Rev. D. Stanley Lord said during a press conference, as reported by wshu.com. “Families lose loved one’s because they have targeted the Black and Brown community.”
Critics say that the ban would drive former smokers back to combustible cigarettes. Traditional tobacco use is a major contributor to heart disease, cancer and strokes, which are the three leading causes of death among African Americans, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The bill advanced from the state’s public health committee to the full Legislature on March 5. Senate Committee Chair Mary Daugherty Abrams said during the press conference that she thinks that there is a “strong” chance that the bill passes through the legislature. If the bill is enacted, the ban would go into effect in October.
“I don’t think we here at the state of Connecticut can wait indefinitely for the federal government to take action,” Steinberg said. “So we’re following through, on what we promised we would do, which would be to end flavors which we view as an unfortunate temptation into the world of addiction.”