Jul 10, 2024

To Protect Ohio Youth, AG Yost Targets Sellers of Illegal Vapes

To Protect Ohio Youth,
AG Yost Targets Sellers of Illegal Vapes

(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has launched a campaign to combat the influx of illegal vaping devices flooding Ohio communities, an initiative aimed at protecting young people from addiction, respiratory problems and other severe health risks associated with these products.

"You don't have any idea what is in those vape cartridges," Yost said. "This is a consumer protection issue, particularly when it comes to our youngsters that are still developing, the idea these unregulated, unauthorized vapes are on the market is a real danger."

The Attorney General today filed complaints against three Ohio businesses for unfair or deceptive practices under the state Consumer Sales Practices Act. The charges include selling illegal vapes, failing to disclose the illegality of these products, and misrepresenting their authorization status.

Investigations by Yost’s office revealed that Orrville Tobacco and Vape Shop in Orrville (Wayne County), Central Tobacco in Delaware, and Elev8 Smoke Shop in Cincinnati were selling illegal flavored vapes in defiance of a warning letter sent from Yost’s office on April 5, 2024. Notably, the Elev8 Smoke Shop was located less than half a mile from Norwood High School.

Unauthorized vapes pose a significant public health threat. The inhalation of harmful chemicals found in vapes – oftentimes including formaldehyde, a known carcinogen – endangers the health of Ohio residents, especially adolescents.

Electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), commonly known as e-cigarettes or vapes, are battery-powered devices that heat a liquid, typically containing nicotine, to create an aerosol that is inhaled. These devices vary in appearance, from conventional cigarette look-alikes to sleek designs resembling pens or USB flash drives.

Federal law mandates that all new tobacco products, including vapes, receive pre-market authorization from the Food and Drug Administration before being sold in the United States. To date, the FDA has authorized only 27 e-cigarette products, all tobacco or menthol-flavored. Any vape products not authorized by the FDA, including those sold in Ohio, are illegal.

Vapes are the most-used tobacco product among U.S. middle- and high-school students. In 2023, 2.1 million students nationwide reported currently using vapes, including 9% of Ohio middle-school students and 20% of high- school students.

Nicotine exposure from vapes is particularly harmful to adolescent brain development, affecting attention, learning, mood and impulse control.

Yost remains firm in pursuing remedies against those who violate vape regulations.

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