California campaign will warn public of vaping dangers

Posted: Updated:

By KATHLEEN RONAYNE
Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - California will spend $20 million on a public awareness campaign about the dangers of vaping nicotine and cannabis products and step up efforts to halt the sale of illicit products amid a rise in vaping-related illnesses.

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the actions Monday as part of an executive order.

Many of the hundreds of nationwide vaping illnesses appear linked to use of cannabis-based oils, though some people reported vaping nicotine products, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. California has seen at least 63 cases and one of the six deaths reported around the country.

At the same time, flavored e-cigarettes made by companies such as Juul Labs are contributing to a rise in youth smoking. The public awareness campaign Newsom announced aims to tackle all forms of vaping, he said.

"As a father of four, this has been an issue that has been brought to the forefront of my consciousness," he said.

RELATED: Senator calls for moratorium on sale of vaping products 
RELATED: Gov. Murphy creates task force to probe vaping health concerns 

While President Donald Trump and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo have announced plans to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes, Newsom said he doesn't have similar executive authority. But he said he wants lawmakers to send him legislation to do so next year.

A similar effort failed this year, but the lawmakers behind it said they'll try again.

"We fully support the Governor's belief that these products should be banned, and we look forward to working with him to pass legislation that will bring an end to this public health crisis and protect the youth in our state," Sen. Jerry Hill and Assemblymen Jim Wood and Kevin McCarty, all Democrats, said in a statement.

MORE: At least 50 illnesses in 6 states may be linked to e-cigarettes, other vaping products 
MORE: President Trump to propose ban on flavorings used in e-cigarettes 

Hours after the governor's announcement, health officials in central California said a resident of Tulare County died of "severe pulmonary injury" connected to the use of e-cigarettes. The person's name and age weren't released.

Most of Newsom's actions center on the use of e-cigarettes, though he said the state is stepping up its enforcement of illicit cannabis products as well.

A spokesman for Juul Labs, one of the most prominent e-cigarette companies, said the company is reviewing Newsom's announcement and applauds action to crack down on counterfeit and knockoff vaping products.

"On reported illnesses, we have been monitoring the situation closely," spokesman Ted Kwong said in an emailed statement. Juul products do not contain THC or any compound derived from cannabis, he said.

Beyond the public awareness campaign, Newsom has directed the state departments of public health and tax and fee administration to explore ways to warn people about the potential dangers of vaping and tackle the sale of illicit products.

He's asked the public health department to explore new warning signs at retailers and in advertisements.

On the tax side, he's asking officials to consider changing how e-cigarettes are taxed, because they typically face lower taxes than traditional cigarettes. Making the products more expensive to buy could make them harder for teenagers to purchase, he argued. Juul did not specifically comment on that aspect of Newsom's proposal or his call for a ban on flavored e-cigarettes.

The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration may also try to implement a tracking system on the distribution of nicotine-based vaping products, similar to the "track and trace" program it already uses for legal cannabis.

Such a program would allow it to track the amount of vaping product distributors are giving retailers. The department would then track that against the tax it is collecting from retailers. That would help the state see if retailers are making money from illicit or untaxed products, said Nick Maduros, the department's director.

Josh Drayton of the California Cannabis Industry Association says the legal marijuana industry already follows rigorous standards and it supports efforts to place those same standards on nicotine-based products.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • New Jersey SlideshowsGalleriesMore>>

  • Your Oct. 16 storm photos

    Your Oct. 16 storm photos

    Storm photos Oct. 17Storm photos Oct. 17
    Storm photos Oct. 17Storm photos Oct. 17
    Heavy right and high winds swept through the tri-state area due to a large coast storm on the night of Oct. 16. Here are your photos from the storm.
    Heavy right and high winds swept through the tri-state area due to a large coast storm on the night of Oct. 16. Here are your photos from the storm.
  • Yankees in the 2019 Playoffs

    Yankees in the 2019 Playoffs

    New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia throws against the Houston Astros during the 10th inning in Game 2 of baseball's American League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Houston.New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia throws against the Houston Astros during the 10th inning in Game 2 of baseball's American League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Houston.
    New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia throws against the Houston Astros during the 10th inning in Game 2 of baseball's American League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Houston.New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia throws against the Houston Astros during the 10th inning in Game 2 of baseball's American League Championship Series Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Houston.
    Photos on the field of the New York Yankees in the 2019 American League Division Series vs. the Minnesota Twins.
    Photos on the field of the New York Yankees in the 2019 American League Division Series vs. the Minnesota Twins.
  • Guide: New Jersey Breweries

    Guide: New Jersey Breweries

    Looking to check out brewery this summer? There are many breweries across the state for beer-lovers to visit. Check out our list for breweries in your area. 

    Looking to check out brewery this summer? There are many breweries across the state for beer-lovers to visit. Check out our list for breweries in your area. 

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."