BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The national debate of vaping and flavored tobacco products continued in Kern County Tuesday, but if and how Kern County would address vaping remains unclear.
Kern County Department of Public Health gave their presentation to the Board of Supervisors on tobacco control options. The two different categories included reducing exposure and access to tobacco products to youth, and the prohibition of the sale of certain types of tobacco products. Possible solutions would include a possible flavor tobacco ban and the banning of vaping products.
Vaping and marketing towards youth was also discussed.
“Every day about 2,000 children under the age of 18 smoke their first cigarette with more than 300 becoming daily cigarette smokers,” said Brynn Carrigan, Assistant Director of Kern county Public Health.
Multiple members of the board stated they want to curb the sale and use to minors but don’t foresee banning it for adults who are using the products legally.
“I don’t think government is the answer to the problem. I don’t think you come to the Kern County just to get someone to stop smoking in the high school bathroom that’s not our job. I think parents need to be involved a take a leadership role in the education of their children,” said Board Supervisor Mick Gleason.
Flavored tobacco was one of the hottest topics discussed Tuesday.
“Four out of five youth who have used tobacco started with a favored tobacco produce, and four out of five stores in Kern County sell flavored tobacco products. We need help,” said 17-year-old Gurvir Sidhu a member of Students Working Against Tobacco.
Sidhu says he’s seen the effects of vaping use in his school and want harsher restrictions.