The Tobacco Control Coalition of San Luis Obispo County would like to thank you for running the story about Darin Dyroff and the e-cigarette explosion (“Pismo man sues after he’s injured by exploding e-cigarette,” Feb. 4). The Shredder also wrote an excellent opinion piece in that same issue regarding the tobacco industry, which includes e-products.
Our coalition has been working hard to raise awareness about these new tobacco products in recent years. While there have been a number of stories in the media about people who have sustained injuries related to exploding e-devices, the statistics regarding youth uptake are even more alarming. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 2.4 million middle and high school students were current (past 30 days) e-cigarette users in 2014. Nicotine use during adolescence may cause damage to brain development, promote addiction, and lead to sustained tobacco use.
There are several ways to fight back against the tobacco industry and its efforts to recruit new smokers. Local jurisdictions can regulate the sale and use of tobacco products by adopting and implementing their own ordinances, as the city of San Luis Obispo did last year. Tobacco retail license laws enable local law enforcement to significantly reduce sales to youth by providing funding through license fees to regularly conduct compliance checks. Comprehensive outdoor smoking policies greatly reduce exposure to secondhand smoke and tobacco litter by restricting smoking and vaping in outdoor areas, including parks, outdoor dining areas, entryways, sidewalks, service areas, public events, and worksites.
The Tobacco Control Program and the coalition are available to provide information and technical assistance to local jurisdictions. Together we can help to end the tobacco epidemic.
-- David Clous - co-chairman, Tobacco Control Coalition of SLO County San Luis Obispo