Momentum building to bring vaping age to 21

Published: Dec. 16, 2019 at 9:41 PM CST
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Devils Lake became the first city in the state to raise the legal vaping age from 18 to 21.

Some groups express optimism that it will create momentum throughout the rest of the state.

It's become one of the most followed trends and health risks of the year.

With Congress trying to increase the age to buy vaping products to 21 in a spending bill, North Dakota could be on pace to make a move of its own.

"Well, we thought it was time for us to step up to the plate and do something to keep it out of the hands of kids in schools, because vaping is getting to be a big problem in both the middle and high school,” said Devils Lake City Commissioner Jack Volk.

According to an American Journal of Preventive Medicine, e-cigarette users are 30 percent more likely to develop a chronic lung disease. And anti-tobacco organizations are calling for more North Dakota cities to make a similar move.

"It makes me hopeful that alongside other tobacco prevention policy work that something like this could be utilized to supplement how we attempt to reduce our youth initiation rates in North Dakota," said Heather Austin, Tobacco Free North Dakota executive director.

There were questions raised as to whether one city could make such a ruling. One commissioner said there was never any concern over that.

"You can make stronger penalties than the state has but you can't do lesser," said Volk.

As of last week, the CDC has identified more than 2,400 vaping-related hospitalizations and 52 confirmed deaths in the United States.

Your News Leader spoke with Bismarck Mayor Steve Bakken, and he said this particular move is on the city commission's radar, but there are no plans nor agendas as of yet. Mandan is a similar situation.