PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — As concerns over vaping continue to grow both nationally and locally, Rhode Island is one of several states considering a ban on flavored e-cigarette products.
“It’s time for the government to jump in on this,” state Rep. Julie Casimiro said.
Casimiro, D-North Kingstown, has proposed a bill that bans flavored e-cigarettes.
“I think we need to be doing something on the local level, even if it’s a temporary ban so we can figure out what’s going on, what’s in these products, and how these kids are getting them,” she added.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says there have been more than 500 cases of lung injury and eight deaths potentially linked to vaping nationwide. Critics say the flavored products are too attractive to children.
The owner of White Horse Vapor, which has several locations in Rhode Island, says the proposal misses the mark.
“The demographic skews higher than most people think,” Dino Baccari said. “[The bill] is totally irresponsible.”
Baccari said he believes the industry could use more regulation but flavor is not the issue.
“They’re very attractive flavors for the products that we sell that are attractive for adults—the same way they’re attractive in Nicorette gum, in lozenges, the same way they’re attractive in liquor and in our products,” he explained.
Baccari said even a temporary ban on flavored products would be devastating for his business.
“I’m not looking to put them out of business,” Casimiro said. “I’m really not, but again, we’ve got to keep our young people safe.”
If the bill leads to a hearing in the House, Baccari said he’ll be there to testify.