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California, Chicago join national crackdown on vaping

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California, Chicago join national crackdown on vaping

California and Chicago have joined the Trump administration and other jurisdictions across the U.S. in a growing movement to bring more scrutiny to the vaping industry.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sept. 16 directed the launch of a $20 million statewide public awareness campaign to educate the public about the health risks of vaping nicotine and cannabis products.

The California Department of Public Health will develop recommendations to reduce smoking among young adults and teens by establishing warning signs where vaping products are sold and on product advertisements.

Newsom also signed legislation that will impose stricter age-verification requirements for tobacco products sold online or by mail.

"We must take immediate action to meet the urgency behind this public health crisis and youth epidemic," Newsom said in a press release.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Sept. 16 called for a citywide ban on sales of flavored e-cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products.

Lightfoot announced her proposed ban at a press conference on the dangers of vaping. Lightfoot's office did not immediately respond to a request for details about her proposal.

California and Chicago join a growing national response to reports of deaths and disease related to vaping products.

Michigan and New York are working to ban sales of flavored e-cigarettes. At the federal level, the Trump administration is working to clear the market of all non-tobacco-flavored vaping products.

There are 380 cases of lung illness associated with vaping reported from 36 states and one U.S. territory, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Six deaths have been reported from six states. Most of the patients have reported a history of using vaping products containing nicotine and THC, the high-inducing chemical in cannabis. Some patients have reported using vaping products that only contain nicotine.

The CDC on Sept. 16 activated its Emergency Operations Center to enhance the interagency response to the investigation into cases of lung injury associated with vaping.

The crackdown is likely to hit vaping sales as some users exit the category and drive increased use in the cigarette category, Michael Lavery, a senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray & Co., said in a Sept. 15 report.

"As nicotine is highly addictive, we expect some users to switch to tobacco-flavored vapor, while others may switch to cigarettes — especially menthol cigarettes, which remain available," Lavery said.

Piper Jaffray also expects the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to propose a ban on menthol cigarettes, Lavery said.