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Baltimore County News

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Keyword: smoking

Public Health Initiative Expands Law to Dangerous Vaping Products

In a critical public health victory, the Baltimore County Council today voted to approve County Executive Johnny Olszewski’s proposal to increase the legal age for tobacco product sales in Baltimore County from eighteen to twenty-one years of age and to expand the law to include all electronic smoking devices (ESD), component parts and accessories, otherwise known as vaping products.

While Maryland recently raised age of sale for tobacco products, including vaping products, to twenty-one, legislation was necessary to empower the Baltimore County Department of Health (DOH) to enforce the new requirements. Baltimore County is the first major jurisdiction to pass this proposal.

Tobacco Use Is a Public Health Crisis

“Youth tobacco use is a public health crisis and we must do everything we can to help protect the health and safety of Baltimore County’s young people,” said Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski. “This new law will empower Baltimore County to take action now to help prevent young people from the harmful effects of smoking.”

Since 2015, the Baltimore County Department of Health has overseen the Tobacco Enforcement Program, which ensures that retailers do not sell tobacco products to underage persons by conducting compliance checks of the county’s tobacco licensees and by issuing citations to outlets that sell to underage youth.

In Fiscal Year 2019, more than 3,000 checks were conducted at County retail outlets.

The Tobacco Enforcement Program has been successful in reducing the rate of tobacco sales to youth under eighteen in Baltimore County. In just four years of operation, the retailer violation rate decreased from 54.7 percent in Fiscal Year 2015 to 0 percent in Fiscal Year 2019.

Enforcement

Continued enforcement, paired with the new increased legal age and inclusion of vaping products during compliance checks, will make it more difficult for youth and young adults to purchase these products.

“Smoking and vaping equals death,” said Gregory Wm. Branch, M.D., MBA, CPE, FACP, Health Officer and Director, Baltimore County Department of Health and Human Services. “I am so glad that the Council approved the increase from age eighteen to twenty-one. Many lives will be saved.”

Statistics

National data show that approximately ninety-five percent of adult smokers begin smoking before the age of twenty-one. The Surgeon General has stated that vaping among underage youth is an epidemic. Vaping is now the most popular form of tobacco use among youth.

The percentage of Baltimore County high school students who use any tobacco or vaping product is about twenty-four percent. The percentage of high school students who have ever used a vaping product is nearly forty percent. Over fifty-two percent of Baltimore County high school students  eighteen or older have used a vaping product.

These rates, as well as the rates throughout the country, are staggering and deserve immediate attention, especially now that hundreds of vaping-associated lung illnesses have been reported throughout the country.


Show airs on Cable Channel 25 and online

The latest edition of Baltimore County’s half-hour cable television public affairs show, “Hello Baltimore County,” features winter storm operations, and offers real-world advice on quitting smoking and establishing healthy eating habits.

ICYMI – In case you missed it, we review some recent headlines from your County government.

What to Know When it Snows – Find out about the County’s winter storm preparations and learn about the County’s new Stormfighter web feature that helps you report storm-related issues to the County.

You CAN Quit Smoking! – Learn about free resources from the Health Department to help you quit for good.

A Heart to Heart with the Doctor – Baltimore County’s top doc, Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch, shares valuable heart disease prevention and treatment advice. 

You can also view the show on the County website’s Hello Baltimore County page at http://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/Videos/hellobaltimorecounty.html . Click on the menu icon in the upper left of the video screen to select an individual segment.

In addition to online access, the program runs several times per week on Cable Channel 25, in Baltimore County, at the following times:

  • Mondays: 1:30 p.m., 6 p.m., 10 p.m.
  • Tuesdays: 12 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 9 p.m.
  • Wednesdays: 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 4 p.m., 10 p.m.
  • Thursdays: 1 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 8 p.m.
  • Fridays: 11 a.m., 6 p.m.
  • Saturdays: 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 3 p.m., 7 p.m., 10:30 p.m.
  • Sundays: 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 3 p.m., 7 p.m., 10:30 p.m.

By Gregory Wm. Branch, M.D., MBA, CPE, FACP
Director, Department of Health and Human Services
Health Officer and Director, Department of Health

Are you someone who likes to start the New Year on a promising note? Have you fallen into the trap of making goals or resolutions that you cannot meet? Well, Baltimore County has a number of tools that may be just the thing for you!

If you live, work, or play in Baltimore County, use the following tips to become a STAR and shoot towards a healthier you. If some of the tips don't apply to you, don't sweat it. Instead, share them with someone you know who could benefit from them.

 

Stop Smoking

If you are thinking about quitting or want to quit, Baltimore County has a number of different programs at various times and locations that may work for you. And, even better our smoking cessation classes are free.

Take the Test

What you don’t know could hurt you. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone ages 13 to 64 know their status. You can get free, anonymous testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases at a Department of Health clinic. Sharing this information is great, spreading an infection is not.

Adopt a Pet

Owning a pet can help reduce your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. In addition, it’s a great antidote for loneliness that can also increase opportunities for exercise, outdoor activities and socialization.

There are numerous pets in Baltimore County that are in need of someone who will love and care for them. Consider opening your heart and home to an adoptable pet.

Remember to Schedule Routine Appointments

Women can take care of their cervical and breast health by scheduling an annual mammogram and routine Pap test. These screenings may be available free of charge to income eligible women. Men, take care of the women you love, by reminding them to schedule these live-saving tests. Remember to schedule prostate exams and colonoscopies as well.

For more information about these tips, contact the Baltimore County Department of Health and Human Services by calling 410-887-BCHD (2243).


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017