The office of Democrat Governor Tony Evers of Wisconsin delivered a press release Sunday, January 19th, in which the Governor outlined an assortment of desired legislation intended to curb underage vaping.
The solicited legislation would be aimed at several key agencies within the state, including the Departments of Health Services, Revenue, and Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection. One potentially alarming point stands out; one of the bills Ever is seeking would, “…expand the definition of public health emergencies,” according to reporting from WKOW 27.
The actions expected of the several departments named in the press release include mandating the Department of Health Services to work with the Department of Public Instruction in the creation and enforcement of a tobacco-free campuses policy, as well as training educators in the ability to identify vapor products. It also prompts the Department of Revenue to find ways to strengthen its enforcement of excise taxes on vapor products. Further, the new legislation will direct the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection to coordinate with local agencies to identify marketing of vapor it believes is aimed toward minors.
According to Governor Evers’ office, Ever is seeking this package of legislation because, “vaping products pose serious health risks to young users because the nicotine contained in e-cigarettes can harm parts of the brain that control attention and learning.”
Of course, the sale of tobacco products and vapor products alike to those under 21 years of age is now unlawful in every state in the U.S., including Wisconsin. This raises the question: why seek new laws rather than seeking more complete and effective enforcement of existing laws? If it’s a matter of enforcement being unfeasible, why add another layer of ineffectiveness?