Governor Parson Signs Executive Order to Reduce Youth Vaping in Missouri

Missouri state capitol building.

Missouri state capitol building.

On October 5, Missouri, Governor Mike Parson signed an executive order in an effort to reduce the use of vaping devices and deaths caused by vaping among the youths of Missouri. Calling the widespread obsession with vaping an “epidemic,” Parson has directed Departments of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), and Public Safety (DPS) to formulate a campaign to warn youths of the dangers of vaping.

Executive Order 19-18

Tuesday, Governor Parson signed executive order 19-18, which deals with the growth of vaping among high school students. 19-18 directs DHSS, DESE, and DPS to go over past studies regarding the use of vaping devices- including long term effects and vaping related injuries. [1]

Specifically referring to the youth in Missouri, Executive Order 19-18 orders the departments mentioned earlier to begin a campaign, aimed at teens, that will educate, warn of the health risks, and successfully deter young people from vaping.

“As Governor, our future generation is very important to me. Despite the laws currently in place, there has been a rapid increase in vaping among our youth,” Parson said. “People across the country are being hospitalized, some even losing their lives, with links to vaping. This is truly an epidemic, and it is critical that actions be taken to protect the health and well-being of Missouri’s youth.” [2]

The Rise of Vaping

The rise of flavored nicotine products such as grape, cotton candy, and other fun flavors, along with the targeted marketing of vape companies, has led to a drastic rise in youth vaping in Missouri in the past five years.

On October 1, 2019, the CDC has reported 1,080 lung injury cases and 18 deaths across America so far this year that were associated with vaping products- the FDA calls this rapid rise of vaping an epidemic. [3] In Missouri, 22 cases of vaping-related sickness – and one death- was reported as of October 4, 2019.

“These products aren’t just dangerous. Under state law, it’s illegal for minors to be vaping and for retailers to sell these products to anyone under age 18,” Department of Public Safety Director Sandy Karsten said. “The Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control already conducts inspections of retailers and special enforcement operations to help ensure stores are not selling vaping products to minors.” Laws are already in place, prohibiting the use of vaping devices among minors. However, the Missouri Student Survey has reported that the use of these devices has increased significantly since 2014.

In 2014 the percentage of those reporting in high school and middle school of using a vaping device at some point in their lives was 19.1 percent- in 2018, it was 26.9 percent.

Across a national scale, the use of vaping devices has increased 78 percent from 2017 to 2018. [4]

“We are facing an epidemic of youth vaping partly driven by the fact that many young people do not believe there are immediate or long-term risks associated with vaping,” said Dr. Randall Williams, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Director. “The ‘Clear the Air’ campaign is intended to ensure all youth and those who supply them with these products understand the real risks identified with youth vaping. Using e-cigarettes has become a gateway to traditional cigarette smoking for adolescents, and it’s led to dangerous addictions.”


  1. ^Of State- IT, Missouri Secretary. “Governor’s Executive Order 19-18.” 17 Oct. 2019, (go back  ↩)
  2. ^Governor Parson Signs Executive Order 19-18 Regarding Youth Vaping in Missouri | Governor Michael L. Parson.” 16 Oct. 2019, (go back  ↩)
  3. ^E-Cigarettes: Talk to Youth About the Risks.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 18 Sept. 2019, (go back  ↩)
  4. ^Youth Tobacco Use: Results from the National Youth Tobacco Survey.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 10 Aug. 2019, (go back  ↩)

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