Shaheen seeks help to stop youth vaping

March 15, 2019

DOVER -- Sen. Jeanne Shaheen met with a panel that included student members of Dover Youth to Youth Friday to talk about her legislation that would impose fees on manufacturers and importers of e-cigarettes.

Shaheen, a Democrat who lives in Madbury, also sought the advice of the students during a roundtable discussion at the Gourmet Table in the Dover High School on how to best educate youth about the dangers of using e-cigarettes.

Shaheen recently introduced federal legislation called the E-cigarette Youth Protection Act that calls for fees charged to e-cigarette manufacturers that would be used to fund prevention efforts on the national level. President Donald Trump proposed similar taxes in his budget proposal, which Shaheen said she applauds.

The roundtable also included Dover Police Chief William Breault, Superintendent William Harbron, DHS Principal Peter Driscoll and Mayor Karen Weston, as well as state and local public health officials.

Shaheen said she introduced the legislation because she is concerned about the dramatic increase of youth using e-cigarettes, commonly referred to as vaping. Citing statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Shaheen said e-cigarette use among high school students has risen from 1.5 percent in 2011 to 20.8 percent in 2018.

Vicki Hebert, Youth to Youth coalition coordinator, said when cigarette smoking among youth peaked, an average of 25 percent of students in the state had responded in surveys they have smoked at least once in the past 30 days. That has dropped to 9 percent. Now the students who report they've used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days has increased to 24 percent in the state, Hebert said.

The Youth to Youth students said many parents and teachers are not aware of what the vaping products look like, often confusing it with a USB drive. Izabelle Wensley, a DHS senior, said there needs to be more education not only for students about the dangers of vaping but for teachers and parents as well.

By:  Brian Early
Source: Portsmouth Herald