Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe increases minimum purchase age for vaping devices and bans flavored products

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Tribal council resolution signed in response to public health concerns

News Release

Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe

The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Council signed Tribal Council Resolution 2019-58 on Tsiothóhrha/December 6, 2019 in response to public health concerns associated with vaping and e-cigarette products and their appeal to youth and young adults. The Tribal Council 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 Tsiothohrk6:wa/January 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,” stated Tribal Chief Beverly Cook. Chief Cook noted, “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. 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.

“E-cigarette flavors like crème brûlée, mango and fruit medley are being are being produced and marketed specifically for one consumer group — our youth,” stated Tribal Chief Michael Conners. Chief Conners added, “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 amongst our youth, the Tribe’s Alcohol/Chemical Dependency Prevention Program provided a presentation on the ill-effects of vaping at the Kenténha/October 5, 2019 Monthly Tribal Meeting. It was followed by a proposed Tribal Council Resolution that was introduced on Kenténha/October 30, 2019 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; which concluded on Kentenhkó:wa/November 28, 2019; for tribal members to submit feedback and input on the proposed resolution. It included three public presentations on the proposed measures — October 30 Work Session, November 2 Monthly Tribal Meeting and a November 12 Public Meeting. Copies of the proposed Tribal Council Resolution were also available from the Compliance Department and the main reception desk at the Ionkwakiohkwaróron Tribal Administration Building.

“Tribal Council Resolution 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,” noted Tribal Chief Eric Thompson. Chief Thompson added, “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.”

For more information, please contact Elliott Lazore, Compliance Director, at (518) 358-2272. 

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