State lawmakers should pass a ban on flavored electronic cigarettes and vaporizer products, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said today.
The call to end the sale of the products comes after a dozen people have died and more than 800 have fallen ill across the country from lung conditions alleged to be associated with vaping. It isn't entirely clear yet what has caused those health problems, however.
DeWine and other critics of the industry say the fruit and candy flavors marketed by the e-cigarette industry are aimed at young people. Data from a University of Michigan survey suggests that the use of e-cigarettes has increased among minors in recent years.
"They lure kids with sweet flavors such as fruit, candy, chocolate, menthol and mint to get them hooked on massive amounts of nicotine," he told reporters today.
So far, 22 cases of illness related to vaping have popped up in Ohio, most associated with illegal use of products containing THC. Other cases across the country have also involved THC, though some involved products that deliver nicotine.
More than 500,000 Ohioans use vaporizer products, industry representatives estimate.
Other states, including Washington, Rhode Island, New York and Michigan, have already banned flavored electronic cigarettes. But industry supporters, including owners of some of Ohio's 650 vape shops, rallied outside the Ohio State House today protesting DeWine's proposed regulations.