Gov. Tony Evers pushes for youth vaping regulation

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(WSAW) -- A package of bills to address youth vaping is expected to be unveiled Tuesday at the state capitol.


NewsChannel 7 reached out to the bills' democratic authors to obtain copies of the drafts, however they said the bills would not be released until they are introduced Tuesday. Though Governor Tony Evers, who supports the bills, said they will ban vaping on K-12 school campuses, expand the definition of public health emergencies, fund a public health campaign to address youth vaping in Wisconsin, and expand enforcement to prevent vaping sales to youth.

"Vaping is something that has taken some lives in this country and we want to make sure that we have all the pieces in place to make sure that we're taking care of it and making sure its regulated in a fair and effective way," Evers said.

"We know it's been a struggle for our local school districts," Jenna Flynn, Marathon County Health Department public health educator said, "so any kind of change that would address youth vaping is a positive one."

She said like cigarettes, there are developmental consequences when teens vape, like an impact on learning, memory, and attention.

"The perception of risk is lower, but we know that the products are not harmless and they shouldn't be in the hands of youth," she said.

The Department of Public Instruction's 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that 16% of Marathon County High School students admitted to vaping 30 days before the survey. That number goes up as the grade increases.

The number of students who have tried vaping at least once is even higher, with 37% saying they have vaped and more than half of them being seniors.

As for Marathon County middle school students, the numbers are lower; 5% of middle school students vaped 30 days before the survey.

"If we can prevent a whole new generation from becoming addicted to nicotine, that's a win for all parties," Flynn said.

To learn more about youth vaping, check out the Central Wisconsin Tobacco Free Coalition or the Department of Health Services Tobacco Prevention and Control Program.