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State lawmakers seek to ban flavored e-cigs

James Dawson
Delaware Public Media

A group of Delaware lawmakers are working on a bill that would ban flavored e-cigarettes statewide.

State Reps. Debra Heffernan (D-Bellefonte), Melissa Minor-Brown (D-New Castle) and Krista Griffith (D-Fairfax)  are working together to draft the legislation. 

This comes after a recent outbreak of lung injuries across the country seemingly related to e-cigarettes, prompting an investigation by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Minor-Brown says she’s not concerned about waiting for the CDC to finish its investigation. She says flavored e-cigarettes are marketed to children and the time to act is now. 

“The people that are dealing with these serious health problems, the one thing that is related is they all have vaped. So it’s pretty obvious this is what’s causing the issue,” said Minor-Brown. “Not to mention these products are specifically targeted at children.”

Earlier this year Delaware raised the smoking age to 21.  That includes the use of e-cigarettes. But the lawmakers say flavored e-cigarettes are still commonplace in some Delaware schools.

“I really don’t want to see any 12 or 13-year-old pick up a new product because, you know, what they think looks cool and tastes good,” said Griffith. “Whatever we can do to stop that habit from forming is important for the health care of Delaware.”  

Michigan became the first state to ban flavored e-cigarettes earlier this week through an executive order from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D). 

Delaware lawmakers say the proposed ban here will be introduced in January at the start of the next legislative session.