Durbin calls for higher enforcement of vape marketing

Senator Dick Durbin is calling out vape companies for marketing their products to children and teens. (Photo by Patrick Baron/WJBC)

By Patrick Baron

BLOOMINGTON – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin visited Advocate BroMenn Medical Center today, calling for a ban on e-cigarette marketing towards kids.

Durbin said vape companies are targeting children, pulling them in with devices that resemble USB flash drives and juice boxes that have cartoons on them, in addition to appealing tobacco flavors like strawberries and cream and cookies and milk. Camille Rodriguez, director of the McLean County Health Department, noted 27 percent of high school students are vaping.

Durbin explained these marketing tactics are identical to how companies used to market cigarettes to teenagers in the past.

“Is there any doubt in anyone’s mind who they are marketing to and how they’re marketing? They’re selling to kids an addictive product,” said Durbin. “It’s the same story that we went through with tobacco cigarettes.”

Durbin is calling for the legal age of vaping and smoking tobacco to be raised to 21. He said if teens and kids stay away from the harmful effects of nicotine until they become 21, they are significantly less likely to become addicted.

While some argue that vaping is a healthy alternative to smoking cigarettes, Durbin said users can still become addicted to nicotine.

“Originally, vaping was sold as the healthy alternative to tobacco cigarettes, the way to end tobacco addiction. And it turns out it’s insidious and harmful in it of itself and it doesn’t guarantee any end to tobacco addiction,” Durbin explained.

He acknowledged that, if such a proposal is successful, vape companies will continue to find ways to market their products to young people. 

Patrick Baron can be reached at [email protected].


Labor Day – Expanding voting rights for all

By Mike Matejka Because of COVID, there is no Labor Day Parade this year.  It’s always a great event for our everyday workers to march proudly down the street and enjoys the festive crowd. If there had been a parade, this year’s Labor Day theme was to be “150 years of struggle: your right to vote.” …

Is federal mobilization the answer?

By Mike Matejka As President Donald Trump threatens to send federal marshals into Chicago, over the objections of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, recall another Illinois Governor who protested the incursion of armed federal personnel into the city.   Those federal troops, rather than calming, escalated the situation, leading to deaths and violence. Illinois poet Vachel Lindsay…

In these troubled times, to my fellow white Americans

By Mike Matejka Our nation is at a unique watershed in human relations. African-Americans have been killed too many times in the past before George Floyd, but the response to this man’s death is international and all-encompassing. I was a grade-schooler during the Civil Rights 1960s. I watched Birmingham demonstrators hosed and the Selma – Montgomery…

Workers’ Memorial Day – Remember those whose job took their life

Looking around our community, when we say employer, most will respond to State Farm, Country, or Illinois State University.   We too often forget those who are building our roads, serving our food, or our public employees. COVID-19 has made us more aware of the risk.  Going to work every day for some people means…