Published : Tuesday, August 27, 2019 | 3:57 PM
“We have had an increase in use in Pasadena high school-age youth, and the Health Department is taking steps to increase knowledge about the dangers of e-cigarette use among youth,” said Pasadena’s Public Health Officer, Dr. Ying-Ying Goh.
Earlier this month, the L.A. County’s Department of Public Health (DPH) reported that more than 30 percent of high school students admitted having used e-cigarette products, while 10 percent resort to them regularly.
“A new generation has become addicted to nicotine through flavored vape products like e-cigarettes,” said DPH Director Barbara Ferrer in a statement. “The epidemic of our youth becoming addicted to nicotine by flavors and flavored tobacco is unacceptable.”
Vaping among L.A. County high schoolers jumped 6.4 percent over last year, according to DPH, which got its figures from the 2017-2018 California Student Tobacco Survey and The California Healthy Survey.
It’s one survey, the hybrid name notwithstanding, and among its other findings are that, at the state level, as many as 83 percent of high school students have tried a flavored tobacco product, while 61 percent say they have purchased them at a vape shop.
The survey also revealed, and it should be no shock, that young adults prefer the sweet and fruit-flavored vaping products.
It is illegal to sell tobacco products to minors and doing so can lead to revocation of the license to sell them at all. In California, 35 cities have prohibited the sale of flavored tobacco products.
“We have a youth committee called Cigarette Stompers, and are partnering with our Pasadena Police Department to do enforcement activities around tobacco sales to underaged youth,” said Goh.
In June 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice awarded Pasadena’s Public Health Department $1.4 million, over two years, to conduct tobacco enforcement activities.
“The grant funds enforcement activities within the City that are focused on increasing retailer compliance with state laws, and compliance with local ordinances related to illegal sales and marketing of tobacco products to underage youth,” according to the City Health Department’s website.
As for Pasadena Unified School District, which has a few high schoolers under its charge, Education Code section 48901, amended in 2016, prohibits smoking and tobacco products on campus and at school events, and defines “smoking” and “tobacco products,” according to spokeswoman Hilda Ramirez Horvath.
“Revised Board of Education policies specifically call out vaping and related devices,” she explained by e-mail. “The district may provide or refer students to counseling, intensive education, and other intervention services to assist in the cessation of tobacco use. The California Health Education curriculum for grades 9-12 educates students on the dangers of vaping.”