MP Wescot awaiting action from Minister of VSA Ottley to take steps with regard to vaping.

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“It has been long enough now and the  urgency professed  by Ministers Ottley and Samuel is not translated into action.”

“In February of this year, I  again raised the issue of vaping amongst our youth, especially in our schools, and I  also provided some chilling statistics of what this habit does to the brains of  youngsters. There is absolutely no control on what is sold in these e-devices that reach our shores and surely no control on who purchases them. In that letter to minister Ottley I recommended several ways to at least start a ban or a control on these devices. I  invited the ministers to take a look for themselves where these devices are sold on St. Maarten.”

International organizations have warned against this phenomenon and this matter was again highlighted in a recent Netflix documentary “Big Vape: The Rise and Fall of Juul”, MP Wescot asserted in a release on the matter.

“Yet, we on St. Maarten seem to be oblivious to what is happening around us and want to study the obvious.”

“In my February letter, I pointed out the action that can be taken, in particular I singled out the Commodities Act, that provides the avenue for the minister of health by national decree to regulate e-cigarettes. In fact, in his response, the minister concurred with my assertion and promised  that “further regulations on e-cigarettes by a national decree”  would be explored by the Inspectorate of VSA. I  point out here that this does not require an ordinance (law).”

My call today, after sounding the alarm on vaping on numerous occasions and offering the government potential solutions to curb this problem, is a call of urgency.

“I  have knocked on the doors of the ministries of VSA and ECYS respectively and again in a recent meeting  of parliament on August 31, when I  was informed that this matter is being dealt with by an inter-ministerial workgroup. Since this matter has been raised by me, a logical question would be what this group has come up with? I was promised an update within a week. I am still waiting. Will this be similar to the ban on single use plastic bags? Where the parliament is just strung along with no concrete answers?” MP Wescot concluded.