Mothers gather signatures to ban the sale of electronic cigarettes

A group of mothers joined forces to collect at least 1,000 signatures from people who oppose the sale of flavored tobacco in the city of Santa Ana, Orange County.

The signatures will be presented on Tuesday, January 18, during the city council meeting in the hope that the members will vote in favor of an ordinance – presented by councilwoman Nélida Mendoza – against the sale of tobacco in said city.

The mothers of families say that this business is deceiving and severely affecting the youngest by making them addicted to flavored nicotine.

The motion was originally filed on December 21, 2021 but was rescheduled for next Tuesday.
City council members want to make sure that the ordinance will not discriminate against other races that use flavored tobacco – such as hookah or hookah – as part of their culture.

Leticia Moreno, a member of the organization America on Track, said that several of the mothers participating in the initiative have taken classes and have learned that these products are being reached by children, even as young as 9 or 10 years old.

They received information that the tobacco industry is “fooling children” by using the products in very small cases, such as flavored pens or USB flash drives, to attract attention and addiction.

To prevent this from happening, mothers joined the Santa Ana Fights Flavors campaign, which indicates that one in four Santa Ana high school students (25%) has used e-cigarettes in last 30 days.

The US Surgeon General and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) indicate that e-cigarette use among young people has skyrocketed to “epidemic” levels.

The main cause of the problem started with Juul, a sleek, high-tech electronic cigarette that looks like a USB memory drive. Juul is small, easy to hide, and comes in sweet flavors that appeal to kids and deliver a powerful nicotine hit. One Juul pod provides as much nicotine as a 20-cigarette pack.

Leticia Moreno (left) and Veronica García are collecting signatures to ban the sale of flavored tobacco in Santa Ana. (Jacqueline García / La Opinion)

Discovery inside your home

Mrs. Abril remembers when her 14-year-old daughter began to show various changes in just one month at the end of 2021.

A young girl who was previously friendly, athletic, and outgoing had become tired, without appetite, aggressive, and wanting to sleep for extended periods.

“I started to worry to the point that I went to her room every moment to see what she was doing and saw her asleep,” said Abril, who asked not to reveal her identity for the well-being of her daughter.

On one occasion he saw the minor coming out of the bathroom falling down. She was immediately concerned and asked what was wrong with her, but the enraged girl replied that she had nothing.

“So I did the police thing and I started to search her and she told me ‘I don’t have anything’. I kept looking up to his feet and when I went up I found these three in his groin [cigarrillos electrónicos]”Said the mother tearfully showing the electronic cigarettes, which are the size of pens and USB flash drives.

The mother’s immediate reaction was to slap her daughter who to her utter amazement did not react to the effects it had on her body.

“It was a total disappointment with my daughter … I collapsed,” said Abril, who began to question where she had failed.

Since her two daughters were very young, she involved them in classes related to their well-being.

The girls, ages 16 and 14, know about the evils caused by all kinds of drugs, tobacco, alcohol, and toxic relationships. However, none of this was enough for her youngest daughter to fall into the clutches of addiction.

April said that so far her daughter has not told her where she got the cigarettes and the only answer she gave was that vaping “is fashionable.”

“I told her, ‘no daughter, it is not normal, many people have cancer and it is not normal. Something is happening, something is causing it, you are going to a place where you don’t know what consequences you are going to have in the future. ‘

Now the young woman is in therapy and said her attitude is returning to her normal demeanor, calmer and more comfortable at home.

Her mother says that when she began to investigate, she noticed that most of the schools have a nearby tobacco store. Across the street from Tustin High School, where his two daughters attend, there is a tobacco shop.

Without having hard evidence, she said she could ensure that from that place comes addiction for high school students.

“I see all this problem at school. In my house we don’t smoke, we don’t drink, we don’t use drugs ”, he assured.

“Why does the city allow our teenagers to destroy us? If as a family we want to restore them, we want a better youth, a better community ”.

Looking for options

Mothers said that the city of Santa Ana has more stores that sell tobacco than public libraries.

“We have the same public library for years and we need resources, programs, sports, but there aren’t any … While these establishments are easily accessible,” said Verónica García, another mother and member of America on Track.

He added that they feel “ignored, run over and trampled on” by the city council since the city is profiting from the health of young people.

Statistics from the Santa Ana Fights Flavors campaign indicate that there are more than 15,500 flavors of e-cigarettes and 200 flavors of cigars, with more appearing. These flavored tobacco products reduce Santa Ana’s efforts to prevent youth tobacco use.

La Opinion tried to obtain a comment from the mayor of Santa Ana but at press time there was no response. He also tried to contact Fumari, a tobacco and hookah products company whose representatives opposed the motion in December, but there was no response.