Missouri Works to Protect Young People from the Dangers of Vaping
Governor Mike Parson recently signed an executive order that is meant to raise awareness of the risks associated with vaping. The executive order directs the Departments of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), and Public Safety (DPS) to use existing resources to develop a statewide campaign to educate, warn, and deter the use of vaping devices among Missouri’s youth.
“People across the country are being hospitalized, some even losing their lives, with links to vaping. This is truly an epidemic, and it is critical that actions be taken to protect the health and well-being of Missouri’s youth,” said Parson.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently released data showing the increase in the use of vaping among young people has reached the level of an epidemic. The CDC says vaping is now responsible for approximately 1,300 illnesses and at least 26 deaths nationwide. Missouri has seen 22 cases of vaping-related illnesses and one death, with most of these incidents involving young people.
Current Missouri law prohibits the use of vaping devices by individuals under the age of 18, but the Missouri Student Survey has reported an increase in the use of these devices by middle school and high school students every year since 2014. The 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey indicated that the use of vaping devices among high school students increased by 78 percent from 2017 to 2018.
The governor’s executive order directs the state departments to develop and launch an awareness and deterrence campaign within 30 days. It also directs DHSS, DESE, and DPS to review evidence regarding the cases and effects of vaping-related injuries, specifically among youth, and tailor their prevention and educational messaging to counter vaping industry marketing practices that target youth.
In addition to the Executive Order, Parson also signed letters to the FDA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services supporting their efforts to address the vaping epidemic.
As always, it is an honor to serve you.
Allen Andrews, State Representative - District 1, Missouri State Capitol, 201 West Capitol Avenue, Jefferson City, MO 65101; Telephone: 573-751-9465; Allen.Andrews@house.mo.gov
Allen Andrews is the First District State Representative.