Rhode Island ends sale of flavored e-cigarettes

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The Rhode Island Department of Health recently finalized a rule prohibiting the manufacture, distribution, or sale of flavored e-cigarettes in the state.

The rule went into effect Thursday, making permanent emergency regulations issued in September. Rhode Island is the third state to prohibit the sale of all flavored e-cigarettes, after Massachusetts and New Jersey.

Between 2017 and 2019, e-cigarette use among high school students increased from 11.7 percent to 27.5 percent, according to the 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey, and 5.3 million middle and high school students used e-cigarettes.

Of those who used e-cigarettes, 97 percent used a flavored product in the past month, and 70 percent said flavors were the reason they used e-cigarettes. A total of 30.1 percent of high school students in Rhode Island use e-cigarettes, compared to only 4.2 percent who smoke cigarettes.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids supports Rhode Island’s new rule.

The organization called the rule “a tremendous victory for Rhode Island’s kids and exactly what’s needed to reverse the youth e-cigarette epidemic that is addicting a new generation of young people.”

There is growing evidence that e-cigarette use can harm lung health, the organization said.

The organization also commended Gov. Gina Raimondo for her strong leadership.

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