MULT CO MENTHOL CONCERNS

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MULTNOMAH COUNTY, OR (KPTV) - Multnomah County is considering new steps to curb youth vaping and smoking including a possible ban on menthol cigarettes.

The proposal comes, as the CDC is releasing an update on injuries, linked to vaping.

On Tuesday, health officials presented the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners with options for restricting the sale of flavored vaping and tobacco products.

This includes flavors like menthol.

The warnings about the dangers of vaping have ramped up since more people started getting lung injuries and illnesses related to vaping.

Two people have died in the state of Oregon from these illnesses.

Early last month, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed an executive order placing a six-month ban on the sale of flavored vaping products.

But two days after it started, a judge halted the ban allowing the sale of flavored nicotine-based e-liquids. Flavored THC based liquids are still temporarily banned.

Now, health officials want a more permanent ban put in place.

“We know that the flavors are particularly attractive to them both in the vaping world and in the tobacco world, because flavors mask the harshness of tobacco,” Deputy Heath Officer Dr. Jennifer Vines said.

They said this is also about protecting the youth as well as communities of color that are often targeted by tobacco companies

“The tobacco industry has targeted and marketed and poured millions and billions of dollars into targeting specific communities. And one of those communities is the African-American and black community here in Multnomah County and across the nation,” Multnomah County Public Health Director Rachael Banks said.

The ban would include mint and menthol flavors.

Dr. Jennifer Vines said while those are marketed as adult flavors, 54 percent of the people who use them are between the ages of 12 and 17.

The current proposals include a complete ban of flavored tobacco products as well as restricting the sale of those products to places that only serve customers 21 and older or not allowing them to be sold near schools or daycares.

The public can comment on the proposals Tuesday Nov. 12 and again in December.

Copyright 2019 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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