For years, the companies that manufacture and distribute e-cigarette products touted them as alternatives to tobacco.
Come Oct. 1, however, Maryland will consider the nicotine delivery devices to be tobacco — and will include them when the smoking age rises to 21.
House Bill 1169 and its Senate counterpart, SB895, will classify all vape products and accessories as tobacco products — no matter what the nicotine concentration. Cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, and now vaping devices, are lumped together.
Members of the Armed Forces will still be able to purchase tobacco at age 18 with military IDs.
It’s a step in the right direction in a state where the “vape” craze has enveloped high school students in a bubble gum-flavored cloud. The U.S. Surgeon General’s office reports the use of e-cigs by teens nearly doubled in a year — from 11 percent in 2017 to nearly 21 percent last year.
According to the Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease, e-cigarettes heat nicotine (extracted from tobacco), flavorings and other chemicals to create a water vapor that you inhale.
Nicotine remains the primary agent, and it is highly addictive. It causes you to crave a smoke and suffer withdrawal symptoms if you ignore the craving. Nicotine is also a toxic substance. It raises blood pressure and spikes adrenaline, which increases the heart rate and the likelihood of having a heart attack, the Ciccarone Center states.
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