Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Council passes resolution setting 21 as legal age for buying vaping products
Friday, December 20, 2019 - 5:36 pm

AKWESASNE — The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Council signed a resolution Dec. 6 in response to public health concerns associated with vaping and e-cigarette products and their appeal to youth and young adults.

The resolution sets 21 years old as the minimum purchase age for all products associated with vape, e-cigarettes, electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), or similar devices.

The resolution also prohibits the retail sale and distribution of all flavored vaping products.

Both become effective Jan. 1, 2020.

“Most tobacco use is established during adolescence and often leads to a host of health problems associated with a lifetime of nicotine addiction,” said Tribal Chief Beverly Cook. “Because youth are more likely to take risks with their health and safety, they are at a greater risk of using vaping products that are being marketed with them in mind.”

In 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a report that confirmed the use of e-cigarette products is growing rapidly among youth and young adults, said a press release from the council. Vaping products, such as JUUL, are available in enticing flavors for youth and come in a small, sleek device that resembles a USB flash drive, making it easy for middle and high school students to conceal, the press release said.

“E-cigarette flavors like crème brûlée, mango and fruit medley are being are being produced and marketed specifically for one consumer group—our youth,” said Tribal Chief Michael Conners. “With so many adverse health effects and fatalities that are just now being made known from inhaling aerosols containing toxic chemicals, we needed to implement measures intended to protect the health and safety for a vulnerable segment of our population.”

Due to the concerns associated with vaping among youth, the Tribe’s Alcohol/Chemical Dependency Prevention Program provided a presentation on the ill-effects of vaping at the Oct. 5 monthly tribal meeting. It was followed by a proposed TCR introduced on Oct. 30 at the Tribal Council work session that sought to increase the purchase age for vaping devices and ban flavored products.

A 30-day public comment period was provided, concluding Nov. 28, for tribal members to submit feedback and input on the proposed resolution. It included three public presentations on the proposed measures. Copies of the proposed TCR were also available from the Compliance Department and the main reception desk at the Tribal Administration Building.

“TCR 2019-58 supersedes any previous resolutions and sets 21-years of age as the minimum age to purchase vaping, e-cigarette, ENDS or similar products beginning on Tsiothohrk6:wa/January 1, 2020,” said Tribal Chief Eric Thompson. “On the same time, it prohibits the retail sale and distribution of all flavored vaping products that have a taste or aroma distinguishable from tobacco or menthol.”

Info: Elliott Lazore, compliance director, 518-358-2272.