Last week Gov. Tom Wolf signed two bills into law which take a major step in preventing young adults from vaping and smoking. The new law will raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco and nicotine products, including vaping devices to age 21. But some people say more needs to be done on the local and national level.
"Nearly half of high school students report that they have vaped," said Dr. Michael Lynch with the Pittsburgh Poison Center at UPMC Medical Director.
One that has seriously sickened many and even killed one person in the state.
The American Lung Association rates how states are doing in preventing smoking and vaping; They said Pennsylvania isn't cutting it. One area the organization is focused on is state funding and access to programs to help smokers quit.
"The recommended level is $140 million annually by the CDC and we do receive just a fraction of that every single year," said American Lung Association Director of Advocacy for Pennsylvania and West Virginia, Sarah Laver.
But this new law could decrease that funding even more. A 1998 agreement between 46 states and big tobacco stated tobacco sales should partially fund smoking cessation programs. With the new law, less smoking products sold could be sold so less money would be available for those programs.
State Senator Jay Costa believes the tradeoff is worth it.
"At the end of the day the loss of revenue we might have for some of these programs is far outweighed by the benefit of saving resources and saving lives," said State Senator, Jay Costa.
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