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Bustos: E-Cigarette Industry Should Fund Anti-Smoking Efforts

Monica Hendrickson of the Peoria City/County Health Department, U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos and Peoria Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat participate in a roundtable discussion about teen vaping.
Dana Vollmer
/
Peoria Public Radio
Monica Hendrickson of the Peoria City/County Health Department, U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos and Peoria Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat participate in a roundtable discussion about teen vaping.

U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos wants the e-cigarette industry to foot the bill to educate youth about the danger of vaping.

The Democrat is sponsoring legislation to increase the user fees manufacturers pay for producing tobacco products. She said that would bring in an additional $100 million a year for anti-smoking efforts.

She said previous attempts to limit youth access to e-cigarettes have just made the market more crafty.

"Things that look like jump drives that are actually vaping mechanisms, watches that look like Apple watches that are used as vaping mechanisms — [there’s] a real attempt to hide this,” she said.

A federal ban on flavored e-cigarettes only applies to rechargeable vaping devices. Manufacturers can get around that FDA guideline by producing single-use, disposable products.

Public health officials argue limiting access to vapes is only part of deterring youth tobacco use.

Monica Hendrickson with the Peoria City/County Health Department said they need to provide services to address the underlying causes of substance use disorder.

Hendrickson said teens don't just use e-cigarettes because “it’s cool” — it can often be tied back to mental health issues.

"Even if it is part of peer pressure, you have to understand that that is a coping mechanism that's helping support that. I think [whether] it is a coping mechanism or a true substance abuse disorder, you want to make sure that you're addressing it comprehensively."

Hendrickson also supports a measure to ban e-cigarettes in public spaces, the same as smoking tobacco. That legislation passed the Illinois Senate and is now being considered in the House.

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Dana Vollmer is a reporter with WGLT. Dana previously covered the state Capitol for NPR Illinois and Peoria for WCBU.