Arizona state senator plans to battle youth vaping epidemic

The Arizona legislature 2020 session is already heating up and it hasn't even started yet. One Arizona Senator is ready to take on the problem of vaping. 

"You would think this would be something we can all agree on," said Arizona Senator Heather Carter. "Kids shouldn't be smoking, kids shouldn't be vaping."

Arizona Senator for District 15, Heather Carter started laying the groundwork for laws next year in the state legislature to battle what she says is a youth vaping epidemic.

Educators say vaping has caused a host of issues at schools. 

"Our high school students were not going into the bathroom fear someone would be vaping and they would be suspected of vaping," said Debbi Burdick with the Cave Creek Unified School District. "Some said they would not drink any liquids during the school day so they wouldn't have to use the bathroom. We installed vape detectors but they didn't work."

More than a dozen people from pro-vaping groups quietly stood at the back of the news conference holding signs that support vaping rights. Senator Carter addressed them directly. 

"Saying vaping is not a crime, I vape, I vote, you know who else votes, parents," said Carter. "You want to know who else votes too, teachers, principals, people who are generally concerned about another generation getting addicted to nicotine."

A Vaping alliance representative says vaping was geared towards and used by adults, until 2016 when Big Tobacco came in and targeted youth.

"You would be hard-pressed to find someone who hates Big Tobacco more than vapers and small business owners in the vaping industry," said Amanda Wheeler with Arizona Smoke Free Alliance. "The problems caused by Big Tobacco are the reasons why we opened our business, they're the reasons why we exist. We want to get people off those Big Tobacco products we know are killing them."

Read the full SB 1009 here.