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Cullerton: Chemical cigarettes are a public health epidemic

Sen. President John J. Cullerton

SPRINGFIELD – Vaping has taken the life of three Illinoisans and injured 166 more. Senate President John J. Cullerton is committed to stopping the lung illness outbreak before even more lives are lost – and it starts with the passage of Senate Bill 668.

“Chemical cigarettes are a public health epidemic,” President Cullerton said. “I don’t want to see these numbers go any higher. I don’t want to see any more teenagers lured to addiction by fruit flavored chemical cigarettes.”

President Cullerton is the sponsor of SB 668, which would ban flavored nicotine products, including flavored electronic cigarettes and vapes, flavored cigars and flavored chewing tobacco.

This step toward addressing the epidemic is supported by the Illinois attorney general, the American Lung Association, the American Cancer Society and the Respiratory Health Association.

“It’s been almost a year since the U.S. Surgeon General issued an advisory declaring teen vaping had reached epidemic levels,” President Cullerton said. “And things are only getting worse.”

There have been 1,604 cases of vaping-related illnesses as of Oct. 22, up from 1,479 in the week prior, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Additionally, there have been 39 deaths in 24 states related to vaping.

Five other states currently have a ban or restriction on the sale of flavored tobacco products. However, Illinois would be the first state to do it legislatively, rather than through an executive order.

The measure passed the Senate Executive Committee Wednesday and heads to the full Senate for further consideration.