INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The discussion on the vaping crisis continues, as a committee met at the Statehouse to talk taxation of vaping and CBD products.
One of the arguments against the tax is that products like JUUL help people quit traditional cigarettes, but a Butler University study found that’s not the main reason why people are vaping.
"Please think twice about doing this,” said Amy Peak, the Director of Undergraduate Health Science programs at Butler University, “This is a hazard to your health and could be a hazard to other people’s health as well.”
Peak researched the harmful effects of vaping by surveying nearly 1,000 students.
“Data from the CDC says that like 27 percent of high school students vape and we know that’s really low, like in reality it’s much higher than that,” said Peak, “Our data showed that 60 percent of college students are vaping.”
State leaders and organizations are jumping in on the conversation. A study committee could approve a recommendation to tax vaping and CBD products.
Many groups during the meeting suggested that the tax be at the wholesale level, though no decisions were made at Tuesday’s committee meeting.
“Our fear that a tax at this point will only add to more uncertainty in the market and while not raising much revenue of overall state budget, could have a damaging effect on those in the e-liquid industry,” said Mason Odle, the Vice President of Indiana Smoke Free Alliance.
Odle added, “We, the members of ISFA are greatly troubled by the increase in youth vaping. We don’t condone it.”
Sarah Bauer of Indiana Chapter of the Academy of Pediatrics said, “Taxes on all tobacco products including e-cigarettes and other vaping related products is good for public health, reduces youth initiations, and provides state revenue.”
At Butler University, almost 60 percent of students say they have used a JUUL e-cigarette.
“Every day I see it somewhere,” said student Nathan Austing.
Peak’s research discovered, of the students who vaped, 90 percent had never smoked a traditional cigarette and only three percent of students said they used JUUL, in an effort to quit smoking.
“It’s promoted as being the safer alternative and the risks are just different,” said Peak, “I don’t know what’s in a pod that’s being put in a JUUL or in a juice that’s being put in other vapes, so it’s scary stuff.”
The most common reaction to vaping found in the study was coughing at 32.5 percent.
“We had a large number of students who said they’re experiencing shortness of breath and that exact phrase and that significant of a symptom is not something you would expect if this was a harmless substance,” said Peak.
Along with researching symptoms, Peak says the survey highlighted a health hazard that no one is talking about.
During the survey Peak asked students, have you put a JUUL in your mouth immediately after it was in someone else’s mouth? 95 percent of students said yes. Peak says, that’s putting people at risk for infectious disease.
“You’re going to spread flu, if you have a herpes cold sore you could spread that, you could spread mono, you could spread strep throat,” said Peak.
While questions remain and state discussions continue, Peak says one thing is for certain:
“Don’t drink after each other and don’t JUUL after each other either.”
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