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Press Releases - County Council

Councilmembers Riemer and Albornoz introduce legislation to restrict flavored e-cigarette products

For Immediate Release: Thursday, October 3, 2019

Bill 32-19 would prohibit manufacturers from distributing flavored
electronic cigarettes to retail stores within a mile of any
elementary, middle or high school, library, park, playground
or recreational facility

ROCKVILLE, Md., Oct. 1, 2019—Today Councilmembers Hans Riemer and Gabe Albornoz introduced Bill 32-19, Health and Sanitation - Flavored Electronic Cigarettes, which aims to protect the health of young people and limit their ability to purchase nicotine vaping products. Bill 32-19 would prohibit electronic smoking device manufacturers from distributing flavored electronic cigarettes to retail stores within a mile of any elementary, middle or high school, library, park, playground or recreational facility in Montgomery County. Councilmember Tom Hucker is a cosponsor.

“While e-cigarettes have some value as an alternative for adult smokers, flavored products create new smokers, including kids,” said Councilmember Riemer, who serves as chair of the Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee. “We need an effective national prohibition on flavored vaping products. This law is intended to restrict the products locally while also contributing to momentum for a federal or state ban.”

“It is no coincidence that manufacturers are flavoring vaping products to appeal to our children,” said Councilmember Albornoz, who serves as chair of the Health and Human Services Committee. “We must do everything we can to deter our youth from purchasing these products. It is a clear threat to their health, and we now know that nicotine can harm the developing brain, affecting memory, attention and learning.”

Washington state, New York and Michigan are among the jurisdictions to order bans on all flavored e-cigarette and vaping products in recent weeks, and the federal government also is considering a ban. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids says that “children have been lured by the tobacco industry’s savvy online marketing campaigns promoting flavors – more than 15,000 on the market, from mango and mint to cotton candy and gummy bear – that hook them onto a highly addictive product.” The Washington Post reports that there have been at least six deaths and 450 cases of lung disease linked to vaping nationwide.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently issued more than 1,300 warning letters and fines to retailers that illegally sold e-cigarettes and other vaping products to minors, in what it calls “the largest coordinated enforcement effort in the FDA’s history.” It has called e-cigarette use among teens an “epidemic.”

Similarly, according to the 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS), in a single year e-cigarette use among high school students rose by 78 percent and e-cigarette use among middle school students rose by 48 percent. Many of the vaping devices contain significantly higher levels of addictive nicotine than traditional cigarettes, and in some cases, include additional harmful substances.

Councilmember Albornoz is also the lead sponsor, along with Councilmember Craig Rice, of Bill 29-19, which aims to keep e-cigarette distributors and vape shops away from schools. Councilmember Tom Hucker and Councilmember Albornoz also recently introduced Bill 31-19, which would prohibit individuals under 21 from using or possessing tobacco products or electronic cigarettes except under certain circumstances. Councilmember Riemer is a cosponsor of both measures.

Councilmember Riemer’s remarks at Bill 32-19’s introduction can be viewed here:

Councilmember Albornoz’s remarks can be viewed here:

A public hearing on Bill 32-19 is scheduled for Nov. 5 at 7:30 p.m. Residents can sign up for public hearings here:

The Council staff report can be viewed here:

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Release ID: 19-317
Media Contact: Ken Silverman 240-777-7964 , Joy Nurmi 240-777-7961