Health leaders still trying to ban flavored e-cigarettes in Columbia
COLUMBIA - The Substance Abuse Advisory Commission decided on Wednesday that it could not endorse the ban of all flavored e-cigarettes without more information.
The Columbia/Boone County Board of Health invited the advisory commission to an upcoming meeting in January to "contribute information" and discuss "potential strategies."
This comes after the city council denied its request to stop the sale of flavored e-cigarettes in Columbia in October.
"Prohibitions cause more problems than it solves," Danielle Mondloch, a member of the advisory commission, said during the meeting.
The board of health chair Mahree Fuller Skala wrote a letter to city council in October outlining the board's requests.
"The basis for this request is two-fold: the recent dramatic rise in vaping by youth, who are attracted by candy, fruit, and mint/menthol flavors, start vaping, and consequently become addicted to nicotine; and the ongoing nationwide outbreak of lung injury associated with e-cigarette use," Skala wrote.
The advisory commission, as well as city council, determined they needed more information before backing the proposed idea.
"We agree with the current age limit that's on tobacco usage and just having a larger information campaign on vaping and what it has on health," Vice Chair of the advisory commission Blake Willoughby.
"The board is gathering information for a comprehensive report to the city council and would like to meet with other local groups that have a direct interest in this problem," Skala wrote.
Within the past five years, Columbia has passed laws and started campaigns in order to reduce tobacco use and vaping in young people.
Tobacco 21 made it illegal for people under the age of 21 to buy tobacco products. The city also requires tobacco retailers to obtain a license.
Columbia Public Schools and the Columbia/Boone Public Health Department also launched an anti-vaping social media campaign in September.
The Department of Health and Senior Services reported two vaping-related deaths in 2019.
Skala said the Board will conduct research and surveys to gather more information starting in January.
Ohio, Massachusetts, Washington, Michigan, New York, Los Angeles County and San Fransisco have all banned flavored e-cigarettes.