Governor Tony Evers announced a comprehensive agenda that will help combat vaping among kids and educate the public about the potential dangers associated with vaping products on January 19, coinciding with bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin to protect children from the harmful effects of e-cigarettes.

Governor Evers is directing state agencies to strengthen enforcement measures related to preventing the sale of vaping products to kids, bolster partnerships with public health officials and local school districts, educate the public on potential risks and hazards associated with the use of e-cigarettes and vapor products by kids, and prevent manipulative advertising to kids.

“As a parent, grandparent, and lifelong educator, I am deeply concerned about the health and well-being of our kids,” Gov. Evers said. “Vaping is a serious public health epidemic and it is time to take action. State agencies will continue to work closely with local public health officials, law enforcement, and the medical community to implement solutions, but we also need our partners in the legislature to join us in order to really move the needle. I hope to see these bills pass quickly and with bipartisan support.”

The governor is also calling on the legislature to pass a series of bills that would: ban vaping and vapor products on K-12 campuses; expand the definition of public health emergencies; fund a public health campaign to address youth vaping in Wisconsin; and expand enforcement capacity within the Departments of Revenue and Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection to prevent the sale of vaping products to kids.

These products pose significant potential health risks, particularly to young users. The nicotine contained in e-cigarettes can harm the parts of the brain that control attention and learning, and data indicates that teens who use e-cigarettes are three times as likely to become cigarette smokers.

“The rise of teen vaping is an epidemic and we must take action to protect children from the dangers of e-cigarettes and prevent them from using harmful tobacco products,” said Senator Baldwin. “This legislation is an important step forward to fund stronger oversight of the e-cigarette industry and increase our prevention and youth awareness efforts.”

The Resources to Prevent Youth Vaping Act would require that e-cigarette manufacturers pay user fees to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help fund more activity at FDA to conduct stronger oversight of the e-cigarette industry and increase awareness of the dangers of e-cigarettes. The legislation is also cosponsored by Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Susan Collins (R-ME), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Mitt Romney (R-UT).

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, e-cigarette use by Wisconsin high school students jumped 154% between 2014 and 2018 and use by Wisconsin middle school students increased 272% between 2014 and 2018.