By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Sen. Thomas Fisher is set to introduce a set of bills that would ban the sale of e-cigarettes and other related products to minors on Guam.
Fisher's proposal package, billed “Pro-CASA (Protecting Children Against Substance Abuse)," begins with his first bill to prohibit the selling of flavored tobacco products within the territory.
Fact: Over 2.5 million children across America used e-cigarettes in 2022.
Fact: From 2017 to 2019, e-cigarette use among high school students more than doubled to 27.5%.
Fact: The U.S. Surgeon General declared the problem an “epidemic.”
Fact: 85% of youth users of e-cigarettes choose flavored products.
These are just some of the data gathered by the National Youth Tobacco Survey, a school-based survey that collects information on tobacco use from middle school students, grades 6-8; and high school students, grades 9-12. The survey measure tobacco-related behaviors, attitudes, beliefs, and exposure to tobacco influences.
“I’m not sure what’s more frightening – the analysis derived from the survey or that a survey of its kind has to exist,” Fisher said.
“It is not surprising that 85% of e-cigarette youth users prefer fruit, candy, desserts and other sweet flavors as their favorites. This is not coincidental but rather, intentional by the manufacturers of vaping and e-cigarette products,” he added.
According to Fisher, these flavors are meant to entice potential young users as well as mask the bitterness of the taste of tobacco.
“There is a reason cough syrup comes in bubble gum flavor or milk has strawberry and chocolate versions. The sweet flavors make a less-than-desirable product more palatable to children," the freshman senator said.
"The difference is those products are intended to improve the health of our children. Tobacco products, whether traditionally packaged or through e-cigarettes and vaping devices, dispense nicotine which has proven extremely harmful to young brains and bodies. We must not and I will not turn a blind eye to this. I will protect our children from substance abuse,” he added.
The first of Fisher’s Pro-CASA legislation will be introduced on Friday.
The second bill, which would establish sentencing guidelines and penalties for the distribution and handling of Fentanyl, will be introduced on Monday.