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Reynolds not afraid to use executive power to respond to vaping epidemic

DES MOINES — The use of electronic cigarettes and “vaping” products are unsafe at any age, according to the Centers for Disease Control, and Iowa’s governor is exploring her policy options to respond to the problem.

Governor Kim Reynolds and her top staff are meeting today to review ideas — including an outright ban on e-cigarettes and vaping cartridges. “I think something like eight states have banned, several by executive order,” Reynolds said during a news conference yesterday. “We talked a lot about educating the public.”

The board of health in the state of Washington banned the sale of flavored vaping products last week. Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New York and Rhode Island have all approved some form of an electronic cigarette ban. Some of those are being challenged in court. Reynolds told reporters she’s not afraid to use her executive authority to establish a ban in Iowa.

“But we’ll take a look at it and see if that makes the most sense and see if that makes the most sense there are other things we can do in the interim before we move to that step,” Reynolds said, “and maybe it’s a multi-stepped process, see if some of the things they’re recommending works in the short term and if we’re not seeing the results that we think we should, maybe that’s something we can look to in the future.”

A recent federal survey found 28 percent of high schoolers admitted to regularly using e-cigarettes. There have been 41 vaping-related illnesses reported in Iowa. Reynolds said 34 of those patients had used a vaping cartridge that contained THC, which is an illegal drug.



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