Raising tobacco age limit to 21 is good for the Mountain State: according to health officials

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – The age increase to buy tobacco and e-cigarette products was attached to the federal spending law President Trump signed earlier this month. Now, health officials are saying this is a step in the right direction for the Mountain State.

The Kanawha-Charleston Board of Health, in particular, has wanted to fight the youth vaping epidemic by proposing ideas during its last board meeting.

Effective immediately, the age limit to purchase tobacco raised from 18 to 21 nationwide. Kanawha-Charleston Board of Health executive director Dr. Sherri Young is in support of the age limit increase.

“We’re seeing an exponential raise in nicotine being used by youth those being under the age of 18. So, anything we can do to widen the gap a little bit for adolescents so they have time to make healthier decisions”, said Young.

From 2018 to 2019, the number of youth vapors increased from 3.6 million to 5.1 million.

“What we’ve seen over the last few years is more electronic cigarette use in youth. So, the fact that they addressed both the smoking and vaping issue in the same bill… we’re very pleased to see that”, according to Young.

In addition to the nationwide law, the Kanawha-Charleston Board of Health is proposing a regulation to eliminate electronic smoking devices in workplaces and public places. The board also wrote a letter to the state supporting legislation that would ban flavored vaping products.

The next health board meeting will be held Wednesday, January 16 at 4:30 p.m. to vote on the indoor vaping regulation.

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