CALIFORNIA—Governor Gavin Newsom signed executive order N-18-19 on Monday, September 16 in response to health risks linked to vaping. According to a press release from the Governor’s Office, the Department of Public Health is directed to launch a $20 million statewide digital and social media public awareness campaign to educate the youth, young adults and parents about the health risks of vaping nicotine and cannabis products.

Public health officials are also ordered to propound recommendations amongst teens and young adults by establishing warning signs about the possible health risks associated with vaping products on e-cigarette packaging. The Department of Public Health is required to present its recommendations by October 14. 

In the September 16 report released by Governor Newsom’s office, research concluded that vaping among California high school students rose 27 percent from 2016 to 2018. A total of 10.9 percent of high school students reported using e-cigarettes and 14.7 percent reported using cannabis. Vaping devices are a commonly used tobacco product in California with over 80 percent of high-school teens who consuming tobacco through these vaping devices.

Of the California teens who consume tobacco products, 86.4 percent report using a flavored tobacco product. There are over 15,500 e-liquid flavors, some of which have shown significant health effects. 

California Health and Human Services Agency Secretary, Dr. Mark Ghaly asserted that,”As a state, we can no longer stand by as a new generation falls victim to big tobacco, with vaping products that directly target our children. The Governor’s action will raise awareness of the dangers of tobacco products and the risks associated with e-cigarettes and vaping, as well as look at enforcement actions that show Californians the gravity of targeting young people and their health.”

In addition to Executive Order N-18-19 SB 39, Governor Newsom announced that he signed SB 39, by Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo). SB 39 will impose stricter age verification requirements for tobacco products sold online or by mail.

Written By Alondra Arana