Mary Alice Reporting – Tobacco is impacting human lives as it is the leading preventable cause of death with more than 20,000 yearly.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine hosted a Thursday conference with Department of Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff talking about the overall dangers of smoking, youth smoking, and the impact of flavored nicotine.
The General Assembly passed a bill on December 15th that would prohibit local governments from enacting laws to discourage the use of tobacco. DeWine said this was not in the public’s best interest and he vetoed that bill Thursday morning.
“Medical experts have been warning about the dangers of tobacco for decades. We know that tobacco companies are adding flavors to tobacco products, not only cigarette but the vaping, to make them more enticing to young people.”
Medicaid costs, in Ohio, related to smoking is $1.85 billion annually, according to the Tobacco Free Kids campaign, explained Vanderhoff.
“Also, according to the Health Policy Institute of Ohio, after adjustment for inflation, the total annual healthcare cost attributable to cigarette smoking, in Ohio, is about $6.8 billion dollars every year.”
Nationwide Children’s Hospital Dr. Sara Bode said the rates, in all communities, of kids using vaping and e-cigarettes are rising.
“They’re more than double in high school student, more than 30% of our high schoolers, and even more alarming, it’s triple the rate now in middle schoolers so we have our 12 and 13-year-old kids that are also starting and introduced to these products at a young age.”
She adds that as kids are introduced and they use flavored nicotine products, they are more likely to transition to other tobacco products into adulthood. Bode noted that youth will try them, as data shows, because of the flavors and the attractive marketing, adding that the flavors mask the harsh chemicals.
Prevention is key and resources along with tips are available at www.empowertusc.com.
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