MONTANA

 

TOBACCO HARM REDUCTION 101: MONTANA

January 14, 2020

Key Points: 

  • Montana’s vaping industry provided more than $67 million in economic activity in 2018 while generating 313 direct vaping-related jobs. Sales of disposables and prefilled cartridges in Montana exceeded $719,000 in 2016.

  • As of January 7, 2020, MDPHHS has reported seven cases of vaping-related lung illnesses, including one death. MDPHHS notes the use of THC-containing vapor products, but does not give specific case counts. MDPHHS earns a D for its reporting on vaping-related lung illnesses.

  • In 2019, only 8.7 percent of Montana high school students reported daily e-cigarette use. Further, only 7.0 percent cited flavors as a reason for e-cigarette use. More data is needed.   

  • Only 1 percent of FDA retail compliance checks in Montana resulted in sales of e-cigarettes to minors from January 1, 2018 to September 30, 2019.

  • Montana spends very little on tobacco prevention. In 2019, Montana dedicated only $5 million on tobacco control, or 4 percent of what the state received in tobacco settlement payments and taxes.

MONTANA’S PREMATURE FLAVOR BAN IGNORES HARM REDUCTION, UNLIKELY TO REDUCE RECENT VAPING-RELATED HOSPITALIZATIONS

October 15, 2019
  • On October 8, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock “directed the Montana Department of Health and Human Services (DPHHS) to implement emergency administrative rules to temporarily prohibit the sale of flavored e-cigarettes.”

  • The ban includes mint and menthol, but does not include tobacco and marijuana flavors. The rules will become effective October 22, and will be in place for 120 days.

  • An encroaching ban on e-cigarette products restricts adult access to tobacco harm reduction products and will likely lead former smokers back to much more harmful combustible cigarettes. Moreover, there is overwhelming evidence that recent vaping-related hospitalizations are due to the use of illegal vaping products containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

  • Despite recent fearmongering, almost all electronic cigarettes and vaping devices are regulated.

    • In 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued deeming regulations on e-cigarettes and extended the agency’s authority to regulate e-cigarettes as tobacco products.

    • As of August 8, 2016, all e-cigarettes have required FDA approval before coming to market.

    • Furthermore, all e-cigarette products have been registered with FDA since December 31, 2016.

    • All companies selling e-cigarettes and vaping devices must complete a premarket tobacco product application by May 12, 2020.

  • Since their introduction to the U.S. market in 2007, e-cigarettes have helped an estimated three million American adults quit smoking combustible cigarettes

  • E-cigarettes are significantly less harmful than combustible cigarettes.

  • Many adults credit flavors in helping them quit combustible cigarettes. Indeed, a 2018 survey of nearly 70,000 adults who use vaping devices, with “almost 95% of participants [reporting] that they were ever smokers,” found only 20 percent of respondents reported “using tobacco flavors” at the point of e-cigarette initiation. Further, 83.2 percent and 72.3 percent of survey respondents reported vaping fruit and dessert flavors, respectively.

  • Moreover, the recent move by Montana’s governor ignores findings by state and national health agencies, which have linked recent vaping-related hospitalizations to the use of illegal and unregulated vaping devices containing THC.

  • Although Bullock seeks to prevent youth e-cigarette use, Montana currently dedicates very little of existing moneys towards programs that could deter youth from using e-cigarettes. For example, in 2019, Montana received an estimated $108.5 million in tobacco settlement payments and taxes.  In the same year, the Treasure State dedicated only $5 million, or 0.04 percent, of state funding towards tobacco control programs, including education and prevention.

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©2020 by Tobacco Harm Reduction 101.