E-cigarettes have been a huge topic of discussion in the tobacco control industry and in public health over the past few years. While containing no actual tobacco, they do contain nicotine, are flavored and require the user to emulate the act of smoking. The CDC recently released a study showing that e-cigarette use has doubled among middle and high school students across the country over the past two years. Up until last week it was legal for minors to buy an e-cigarette in Arizona…. but new legislation went into effect last week making it illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to purchase e-cigarettes.
Our Bureau of Tobacco and Chronic Disease partners with the Attorney General’s Office on a program called Counter Strike. The Counter Strike program recruits youth ages 15 to 17 that have a valid ID to attempt undercover buys of tobacco products. The teens are accompanied by an undercover agent from the Attorney General’s office. If they successfully buy tobacco products the store and clerk receive a citation. We’re also working with our partners at county health departments to make sure that local school districts have this new statutory language in their school policy to reprimand students for using e-cigarettes on campus in the same manner it would for regular tobacco users.