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State commission calls for legislators to tighten e-cigarette regulation


In the wake of reports of hundreds of respiratory and lung injuries from e-cigarettes, the Iowa Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Commission is calling on state legislators to regulate e-cigarettes the same as cigarettes and other tobacco products. Among its recommendations, the commission is calling for e-cigarettes to be included under the Iowa Smokefree Air Act, which would eliminate vaping in all public places. It also recommends taxing vaping products at their cigarette equivalent and significantly increasing Iowa’s cigarette excise tax. Additionally, it calls for raising the purchase age for tobacco and all nicotine products to 21, and prohibiting online sales of vaping products. To date, there have been 41 reported lung injury cases in Iowa from vaping. Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported 1,479 respiratory and lung injury illnesses over the last few months and 34 confirmed deaths. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, national rates of teen vaping more than doubled between 2017 and 2019, with over 25% of 12th graders reporting vaping in 2019. In Iowa, e-cigarette use more than doubled between 2016 and 2018, with 22.4% of 11th graders reporting vaping in 2018. 

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