Arkansas attorney general warns retailers over youth vaping

The rates of eighth, 10th and 12th graders who use e-cigarettes continued to rise this year and doubled from 2017 to 2019, according to research.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The attorney general in Arkansas has warned retailers that they can face steep fines for selling or shipping vaping products to minors.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge delivered the warning in an enforcement advisory Monday at the start of a youth vaping conference at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. The advisory notes that shops could be fined as much as $10,000 under the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

“Misinformation and opportunities for youth to illegally buy vaping products online have contributed to the vaping epidemic across the nation and our state,” said Rutledge. “It is my responsibility to educate our youth on the dangers of vaping and hold those accountable who break the law. With more children and teens becoming sick and addicted to nicotine, we cannot stand idle and watch a health crisis fester within our state. If you are selling illegal products to Arkansas children, prepare to face consequences.”

Rutledge also wrote to eBay’s president and CEO urging him to ensure that teens won’t be able to buy vaping products through the online marketplace. And she cautioned against the dangers of vaping in a public announcement that began broadcasting on television Monday. Rutledge’s office is spending about $45,000 to broadcast the message, according to spokesman Rebecca Jeffrey.

The warnings come amid a rise of vaping-related illnesses nationwide. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday that 18 vaping-related deaths have been confirmed in 15 states.

In September, Michigan became the first state to ban flavored e-cigarettes after the state health department found youth vaping was a public health emergency.

In the same month, the Arkansas Senate’s leader proposed a new vaping tax and regulations.

Fifteen states, including Kansas and Louisiana, have imposed excise taxes on vaping products in recent years.

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