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Clear thinking about vaping

On Sept. 29, the Sun-Gazette published a provocative letter titled “Vaping Hysteria.” While this letter itself was slightly hysterical, at the end the writer called for “clear thinking.” I’m in favor of clear thinking. The various bans and proposed bans are said to be “for the children.” The Urban Dictionary indicates that “for the children” is a phrase to add legitimacy to something that is otherwise ridiculous. After giving it some thought, I came up with several strategies to make it more difficult for underage persons to get and use e-cigarettes while avoiding unreasonable barriers to adults.

1. Enforce the existing laws prohibiting underage sales. Some stores already require an ID to buy tobacco. Some don’t. Conduct sting operations and impose heavy fines on the offending stores.

2. Even better, restrict all sales of traditional tobacco products and e-cigarettes to adult-only stores requiring photo identification for entry.

3. Require tobacco stores to be located some distance from schools, like adult book stores and bars.

4. Require that all e-cigarettes shall be uncharged at the time of purchase. I recently bought a Juul to see what all the controversy is about. To my surprise it was charged and ready to go, right out of the box! This makes it too convenient for a school student to grab one on the way to school and use it. I wouldn’t mind it if I had to take it home and charge it first.

5. Require that all e-cigarettes shall not be compatible with phone chargers and shall be chargeable only with the charger that comes with it. Prohibit these chargers from having a USB connector. Phone chargers are everywhere making it too easy for young people to charge them. I could put up with this inconvenience.

6. Require a minimum size for all e-cigarettes to make them harder to conceal. If the devices would be at least the size of say, a pack of cigarettes, students couldn’t hide them in their clothing. I think that the small size of the Juul is what makes it so popular with school age children — not the flavors.

7. Require that all e-cigarettes shall be equipped with a sound-generating feature that can be activated from an app on a cell phone. School staff could easily locate the devices when brought into school. Parents could easily locate them at home. It would also help me find mine when I misplace it.

Several of these strategies would cause the cost of e-cigarettes to increase. This in itself would provide a deterrent to young people. I think that there are many practical measures that could be implemented without an outright ban. Let’s use our heads.

Edward Brown

Hughesville

Submitted via Virtual Newsroom

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