Visalia has a mini revolt over vaping

Longtime Visalia resident Roy Kendall became alarmed about the illnesses and deaths caused by vaping and the easy access to tobacco products though vaping by our youth. So he decided to speak in front of the Visalia City Council meeting on October 7 during public comment. Little did he know that the Visalia Unified School District (VUSD) and many other Visalians had decided to do the same.

Kendall asked the city council to place the following ordinance on the next city council meeting’s agenda.

“Ordinance amending the Health Code to prohibit the sale by tobacco retail establishments of electronic cigarettes that require, but have not received, an order from the Food and Drug administration (FDA) approving their marketing; and prohibition the sale and distribution to any person in San Francisco of flavored tobacco products and electronic cigarettes that require, but have not received, an FDA order approving their marketing.”

This same ordinance was passed on June 25 by the San Francisco County Board of Supervisors. It passed 10-0 to amend its health code to ban e-cigarettes. A similar ordinance was passed in Los Angeles on October 2.

In California, 42 counties or cities so far have already taken action to prohibit or restrict the sale of flavored tobacco products or consider ordinances banning the products.

The next speakers at that city council meeting on October 7 were three Mt. Whitney High School students from the Youth Inspire Coalition, a group formed to reduce the number of youths who use tabacco or vape.

Kev Linares said that he wanted to raise awareness of the dangers of vaping and encouraged the city council members to take action.

Jocelyn Resendiz said that much of the problem with young people vaping is that the tobacco industry intentionally created flavors to recruit young Hispanic and Asian users such as Horchata and Boba. She said that students trade the flavored cartridges and hide the vape pens or pods in their backpacks or in their sleeves to use during class.

Alexandria Acevedo told the city council that there has been 1080 illnesses cause by vaping and 18 deaths. Since Acevedo spoke to the council the Center for Disease Control has reported the numbers have increased to 1299 illnesses and 26 deaths. Of the three that have died in California one has been in Tulare County and one in Kings County.

She stated that 31% of people who vape are under 21 years old. To curtail vaping by youths she asked the city council to ban the sales of vaping products next to parks or youth facilities.

Cynthia Sanchez said she raised seven children who all went through Visalia schools and now is raising a grandson. She told the city council that in the beginning she didn’t believe the cartridges contained nicotine because they came in flavors. “But I found out vaping does contain nicotine and I was alarmed,” said Sanchez. “They actually look like flash drives and are very easy for our youth to conceal.”

Sanchez said that stores that sell vaping paraphernalia are close to schools and community centers such as the Boys and Girls Clubs and the YMCA. She wanted the city council to put a ban on these types of products being sold around Visalia’s youth.

Visalia is not unique in its outrage over vaping. According to NPR News, “Schools across the country are so fed up with students vaping on campus that they’re suing the e-cigarette manufacturer Juul Labs. Multiple districts filed lawsuits…including school systems in Olathe, Kan.; St. Charles, Mo.; Long Island, N.Y.; and La Conner, Wash. Three of those suits charge that Juul has hooked a generation of young smokers with its sweet flavors, placing a burden on schools.”

According to Paul Scheibel, Visalia Planning Services Manager, stores selling tobacco products need to come before the city planning department for a Conditional Use Permit, but there is not an established ordinance banning tobacco products from being sold around schools or youth facilities.

Council Member Greg Collins stated that he felt it was appropriate to put this issue on the city council agenda and Mayor Bob Link asked the city staff to put the item on the October 21 city council’s consent calendar. During the meeting the item will be pulled off of the consent calendar and voted on separately by the council. If three or more members vote to put it on the regular calendar an ordinance possibly restricting or banning e-cigarettes will be discussed at the November 4 meeting.

Concurrently to the public speaking out at the council meeting, the Visalia unified School District (VUSD) has been planning a public forum on vape-use among teenagers. The forum has been scheduled for October 24 6:30 – 8:00pm at the El Diamante theater. VUSD is hosting the forum along with the California Health Collaborative, the Visalia Police Department and the Tulare County Office of Education.

A press release put out by VUSD Director of Student Services Frank Escobar said, “The industry is constantly creating new ways to hide evidence of the dangers of vaping, and as a nation we are seeing tragic loss of life due to vaping. It’s critically important that parents become more aware, know what to look for, and be prepared to address it with their child.

“We have now seen kids vaping through the drawstrings of their hoodies,” he added. “The industry is very creative but the harmful impacts on our kids are very real.”

3 thoughts on “Visalia has a mini revolt over vaping

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  1. Wow look at them push that ignorance! How sad that people believe lies pushed by government.

    It’s not nicotine vaping making people sick, it’s black market THC cartridges.

    Nicotine vaping should have been the greatest public health win in more than 100 years. It’s the single most effective smoking cessation device ever created. And the government killed it to protect big Pharma and tobacco tax profits.

    Well done morons.

  2. Actually, the morons are those who are vaping. But then the stupidity of the Ca voter is on full display what with legalized marijuana among other things. The decent people might as well leave as clearly we are no longer welcome in Ca.

  3. Oh. my. god! Flavors in vaping didn’t come from Big Tobacco. Initial nicotine vaping products came from China, from manufacturing companies that had no connection to big tobacco. Then industrious smokers in America who found the first ENDS products to be lacking greatly in their appeal and taste decided to start mixing flavorings together and see how that worked for those early 510 and 901 and 801 devices.

    Flavors in ENDS came from Mom and Pop shops that sprang up as vapers learned quitting smoking could be easy if they found flavoring that appealed to their senses more so than chemical draw of smoking a combustible cigarettes.

    It wasn’t until about 4 years into the ENDS industry gaining ground through small American businesses that big tobacco got interested and started buying companies like Blu and Logic and came out with their own versions like Vuse.

    You average non-smokers think you know about vaping from just a couple of news articles, but you know nothing of the history. I’ve been vaping nicotine for 10 years now. I quit smoking with vaping after 14 years of smoking. I’ve been vaping almost as long as I had smoked. I owned an online shop for a little while and had my own e-liquid line. I’ve been mixing eliquid since I started vaping, because I could customize the taste for my preference and could mix recipes that other people loved too. I prefer more realistic tasting recipes that are not laden with sweetener. In fact I hate sweetener.

    Youth that are just experimenting with ENDS products aren’t doing it for the flavors. At this point the experimentation crowd are doing it for the nicotine buzz you get from 59mg nicotine salts. That wasn’t even available before 2015! Before Juul the youth that were using ENDS were more likely to use open tank devices with 12mg or 6mg regular nicotine to GET OFF SMOKING! Even now the youth in the trying to quit smoking (cause they are already using combustible cigarettes) are still using open system refillable devices, some are using regular nicotine in reasonable strengths like 12mg or 6mg. Some are using 35mg nicotine salts.

    If parents and the government couldn’t and haven’t stopped teen use of combustible cigarettes for all these years and there was no decline in youth smoking rates until vaping caught on with them, how do you people believe the government banning stuff is going to stop youth vaping? And quit frankly do we want to stop it? The alternative is all those kids who are experimenting with nicotine from a device that is 95% safer than cigarettes are going to go back to experimenting with Cigarettes!

    At the same time bans are going to send a lot of less dedicated vapers back to smoking and the dedicated vapers who refuse to go back will be forced to buy black market e-liquid or will have to learn to mix their own. While mixing your own e-liquid is not dangerous if you have just a basic understanding and know where to buy your supplies for proper eliquid making, there are a lot of people who aren’t involved in the online vaping community who will do some stupid things like mixing table salt into their nicotine base thinking that is what makes it nicotine salts or using grocery store flavoring extracts which may contain oils in them, rather than using the food safe artificial and natural flavorings that are industry standard, simply because they don’t know any better.

    So to vapers who are in these idiotic authoritarian dictatorship states and you want to learn how to mix your own, seek out the online community on Facebook and youtube, we are here to help you learn the proper way to mix with which flavorings are safe and how to measure everything out. We really don’t want people doing unsafe things like using oil based flavorings or trying to extract flavors at home out of food stuff.

    But this is what you people are forcing current vapers (ex-smokers) to do in order to not go back to smoking. So understand that it is on your heads if people get sick from black market sold ENDS products or because they are mixing bad ingredients at home. That’s on you people not the vaping industry.

    Your bans won’t stop teens from experimenting for the nic buzz. It will send a lot of teens who had been smoking back to using cigarettes and it’s going to send a lot of vapers back to smoking and may cause a black market along with desperate vapers looking for any way to continue using the flavors that keep them from wanting to like up a cancer stick. You are shutting down businesses that employ thousands of people in this depressed economy, hiring families who are trying to earn a living.

    Your moral good deed that you feel like you are doing has way more negative unintended consequences that put your moral good deed at a -10,000 points in the grand scheme of doing good in this world.

    Wake up folks. This is a political move to get the average non smoker to agree with their bans. This is about tax money and MSA payments to the states from Big Tobacco that they are losing every year out of their general budgets and now they want to crush the industry that is getting people off smoking and draining the pool of money the states have been used to swimming in. You are all useful ignorant people to the states and are being manipulated into believing there is an emergency and an epidemic of vaping and that it’s harming people. There is no proof or evidence backing up any claim of harm in those using ENDS products. The deaths are illicit THC and CBD used in concentrated vaping form. Can you stop the illicit THC market with a flavor ban? Certainly not.

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