Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley joined Mayor Jim Kenney to announce forthcoming legislation to protect children from the harmful effects of e-cigarettes that contain a high concentration of nicotine salt and flavorings.

This bill, which is expected to be introduced tomorrow, October 17, 2019, by Councilmember William Greenlee, proposes limiting the sale of e-cigarettes with more than 20 mg/ml of nicotine salts, e-cigarettes with flavorings, and e-liquids with more than 20 mg/ml of nicotine salts or flavorings sold separately. Sales of these products would be restricted to adults-only stores that require patrons to be at least 18 years of age.

In recent years, 1,300 cases and dozens of deaths from lung injury have occurred, with multiple cases reported in Philadelphia and deaths occurring in Pennsylvania. Approximately 80% of patients nationally are under 35-years-old. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still does not yet know which specific chemical exposures associated with vaping are causing these cases of lung injury.

Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said, “No one knows what’s in these products. Even the FDA doesn’t know, because they haven’t required manufacturers to submit a list of ingredients. My message to people in Philadelphia is this: don’t use products that you don’t know are safe. Until we know more, don’t vape.”

“These products are addictive and killing young people,” added Mayor Jim Kenney. “The FDA should have regulated this industry a decade ago, and Philadelphia won’t sit idly by waiting for federal action.”

A study published in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, showed that flavored e-cigarettes, which smell and taste like candy or desserts motivate children to start vaping. Virtually all (97%) current youth e-cigarette users use flavored e-cigarettes, and 70% cite flavors as a key reason for their e-cigarette use.

Adult smokers who want to use e-cigs to help quit smoking will still be able to purchase unflavored, safer levels of nicotine at any existing retailer with a tobacco sales permit, as well as flavored, higher levels of nicotine products at adult-only shops. Convenience stores can still sell various brands and types of e-cigarettes.

Enforcement would take place through existing environmental health ticketing processes and violations would carry a $250 fine.

Dr. Farley also announced that a social media campaign called “Behind the Haze” is slated to launch next week to educate Philadelphians about the dangers of vaping.