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SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. Mitt Romney with a New Mexico senator on Thursday presented a bill to keep electronic cigarettes and other vaping systems away from educational and child care facilities across the country, saying youth use has reached epidemic levels.
"In my home state of Utah, the use of electronic cigarettes has nearly doubled in the last five years, with young Utahns most likely to be introduced to vaping while they are in school," Romney, R-Utah, said. "By banning the use of electronic cigarettes in schools, we are taking an important step to protect the health of young people in Utah and across the nation."
Utah - Action - Indoor - Clean - Air
Utah has already taken action, with its Indoor Clean Air Act, to ban smoking cigarettes or e-cigarettes within 25 feet of the entrance to any building with public access, including schools and child care centers, among other places that people frequent.
"A lot of states don't have that," said Ryan Bartlett, with the Utah Department of Health's Tobacco Prevention and Control Program. He said Romney is likely taking something that has worked in Utah and trying to get it implemented at the national level.
Bartlett - Matter - Policy - Bill - Smoke-Free
Bartlett said that no matter where a policy is enacted, a bill like the Smoke-Free Schools Act of 2019 "would be beneficial."
"It would be good for us to see this implemented in other places to keep more people, including youth, healthy," he said.
US - Centers - Disease - Control - Prevention
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report a nearly 48 percent increase in e-cigarette use among middle schoolers from 2017 to 2018, and a nearly 78 percent increase among high-schoolers during the same time.
It is estimated that there are about 3.6 million "current users" of e-cigarettes in America's middle and high schools, according to the CDC, including an increase of 1.5 million in one year.
Romney - Sen - Tom - Udall
Romney and Sen. Tom Udall,...
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