Ark. AG Rut­ledge warns re­tail­ers over youth va­p­ing

The Saline Courier - - NEWS - As­so­ci­ated Press

LIT­TLE ROCK — 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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