DES MOINES — Governor Kim Reynolds says due to legal challenges of executive action in other states, she’s ruled out issuing an executive order that would restrict electronic cigarette sales. Reynolds met Friday with key staff to discuss ways to address underage “vaping” and the illness that’s been associated with the use of e-cigarettes.
“Right now I’m not going to do an executive order. I’m not going to look at a ban,” Reynolds told reporters this morning. “We’re going to continue to raise awareness both in our schools and our universities and just in the public in general.”
Public health officials have identified more than 40 vaping-related illnesses in Iowa and Reynolds says the majority of those involved the use of a vaping cartridge that was laced with THC, the chemical in marijuana that causes the “high.”
“We’ve seen it stabilize just a little, but we know like anything else it could escalate tomorrow, so I’m not saying that it’s even close to being addressed,” Reynolds said.
The president of the state Senate this past spring proposed raising the age for buying products that contain nicotine from 18 to 21, but the proposal was not adopted by the 2019 Iowa legislature. The governor said this morning she’s willing to consider raising the purchasing age.
“I think that would be maybe something that might help, moving forward,” Reynolds said. “…We need to look at everything, so I would say for the most part we’re not going to take things off the table until we evaluate what’s making a difference.”
The governor indicated she has asked the Departments of Education, Human Services and Public Health to coordinate a social media campaign talking about the dangers of vaping, especially among minors.