By Natasha Brown


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The American Medical Association is calling for a total ban of all e-cigarette and vaping products. It comes as Philadelphia lawmakers take a closer step to cracking down on vape sales.

Philadelphia city councilmembers are continuing to push a bill that would restrict the sale of flavored e-cigarette products to minors. Health officials testified about a rising vaping epidemic in Philadelphia during a hearing on Wednesday while teenagers recounted their own stories of how vaping has affected them.

“She is 16 and addicted to something she thought was harmless,” a teen said. “If vape juices and e-cigarettes didn’t have so many flavors like candy canes, strawberry rules, sour worms, birthday cake, and fruity pebbles or even pretty colors that stand out to the youth, I feel like there wouldn’t be many tempted to use these products.”

It was powerful testimony from teens representing the advocacy institute Real Talk Tobacco program.

The group of young people, who also let their signs do the talking, packed City Council chambers during a hearing on a bill that would limit access as well as the sale of electronic smoking devices in youth-accessible establishments.

“When we look at this issue of flavored tobacco and as well as e-cigarettes, it is purposefully marketed to our children,” Councilmember Curtis Jones Jr. said.

“We are seeing an epidemic in vaping by teenagers across the country and in Philadelphia. What this does is it would restrict the sale of high nicotine content or flavored products that don’t allow children at all. Adult only stores,” Philadelphia Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said.

Councilmember Bill Greenlee introduced the bill a few weeks ago as a continuation of the crackdown on flavored e-cigarette products to young people.

“This is a forward-looking bill and I think it will help these young people sitting in the audience today,” Greenlee said.

Establishments caught selling certain vaping products to minors would face fines.

Meanwhile, the bill moved one step closer to passage on Wednesday. It is expected to go to City Council for a full vote in a couple of weeks.