Hundreds of people virtually came together for the prevention of smoking and vaping, which is especially important this year
HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The issue of smoking and vaping has come back to the fore during the pandemic, especially among young people.
On Tuesday, more than 300 people, many of them students, came together virtually to push lawmakers to take action. This event has been going on for 11 years, and student and adult organizers say the COVID pandemic and the youth vaping epidemic are big reasons why state funding and education are more essential than ever.
“Electronic cigarette use increased at alarming rates from 2017 to 2019. Electronic cigarette use increased 135% among high school students and almost 212% among high school students,” said Deb Brown, Head of Mission. of the American Lung Association.
According to the American Lung Association, one in five teenagers in the United States vape.
“Friends of mine who vape came to me and told me they wished they had never started or that they wished to know how to quit,” said Anastasia Groden, a youth ambassador for the resistance unit at the. tobacco.
That’s why hundreds of people rallied virtually Tuesday, calling on lawmakers to maintain, not cut, nearly $ 14 million in public funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs.
The rallies also want to fill the loopholes in the law on clean indoor air.
“Currently there are 1,700 claim-based exemptions, which means there could be cigar bars, private clubs, casinos, tobacco shops, some of the full-service truck stops where it is still. allowed to smoke, ”Brown said.
By closing these loopholes, advocates say fewer people will be involved in secondhand smoke, which could lead to more complications if you contract COVID, just like smoking does.
According to the American Lung Association, more than 22,000 deaths can be attributed to smoking each year in Pennsylvania.