The increasing popularity of vaping on Guam is setting off alarms as it should.
We are glad that a new bill aims to clamp down on vaping in public places to protect our island community.
Sen. Amanda Shelton recently introduced a measure that would expand the prohibitions against tobacco smoking in public places to include a ban on the smoke generated by vaping.
Bill 138-35 would amend the Natasha Protection Act of 2005 to include banning the use of vaping devices in the same places that smoking cigarettes are currently prohibited under the law.
Guam needs such a law to protect public health as vaping leaves a trail of smoke that is not only a nuisance but also a health hazard to those with breathing problems and compromised immune systems.
Just as important, the law could mitigate the growing public health threat among adolescents. Even though a Guam law prohibits vaping among people younger than 21, some minors use e-cigarettes.
About 13.2% of U.S. high school students reported vaping in the past 30 days, according to the Youth Risk Behavior Survey for 2017. Guam reported double the use at 26.5%.
In April, a video showed two high school students vaping in a classroom on Guam.
Shelton’s proposal could help curb such underage vaping around schools, bus stops, and other public places where teens gather.
It’s critical to protect young people from inhaling the smoke and from developing a habit that can pose long-term health risks.
Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which can harm the developing adolescent brain, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Furthermore, using nicotine in adolescence may increase the risk for future drug addiction, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
In light of these concerns, we hope Shelton’s bill is signed into law to protect the health of teens and other island residents. We must ensure that all residents, especially teens, know the dangers of vaping. Let’s ensure that everyone can clearly see through the haze.