October 1, 2019-- Mayor Ganim joined Department of Health and Social Services Director Maritza Bond and other city officials to announce the prohibition of tobacco and vaping products to individuals under age 21—on both a local and, effective today, state level as well.
Mayor Ganim cited Bridgeport as one of the first in the State to say “No” to both the sale of tobacco to youth and vaping products. By state officials introducing Tobacco 21 and aligning with the City’s victory in public health, Mayor Ganim believes “Through this, today, the State of Connecticut has stepped up big time.”
As mentioned by Director Bond, the CDC has logged over 530 cases of lung illnesses related to vaping products. Thirteen of those cases were in Connecticut, seven in Fairfield County. Effecting individuals from ages ranging from 15-50, Bond called the details “catastrophic” and “hitting all ages and all socio-economic groups.” She also commented, “The amendment of this tobacco ordinance was a priority for us as a Health Department because as a public health agent, we have the duty to protect our residents from this devastating epidemic that we are now facing in our country, in our states and in our cities.”
The Bridgeport Health Department will enforce Statute Public Act #19-13 and Bridgeport Ordinance Section 8.90.050 through unannounced compliance checks. Business owners found not in compliance will be fined $150.
Mayor Ganim, City Council and the Department of Health and Social Services plan to fully commit to youth education and advocacy of prohibiting all vaping products.
In January of 2019, the City of Bridgeport Health & Social Services Department was pleased to support an effort to change the smoking age in Bridgeport.
Health Director Maritza Bond, along with the support of Mayor Joseph Ganim achieved this. On January 21st, the City Council voted on an Ordinance change that would raise the smoking age to 21. Bridgeport was the second city in Connecticut to make this change.
Many healthcare professionals & community members stepped up to praise this decision.
City Health Director Maritza Bond says smoking and vaping is an epidemic among young people and it needs to be stopped.
"This is a clear epidemic, and so we want to fight this health hazard of tobacco products, especially e-cigarettes and vaping, that effect our young adults because the marketing is really targeting our youth purposely," Bond says.
“It’s great news that Bridgeport is taking such a decisive step forward in protecting kids from the dangers of tobacco use in all forms,” said Bryte Johnson Chairman of the MATCH Coalition “Leaders in Bridgeport and Hartford should be commended for these actions, and our state lawmakers need to follow their lead in passing Tobacco 21 legislation across Connecticut.”
“Tobacco remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in our state. It continues to kill more people in Connecticut each year than alcohol, AIDS, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders and suicides combined,” said Michael Smith, MD, Medical Director, Primary Care Clinic Bridgeport Hospital. “Tobacco also costs the state more than $2 billion in health care costs annually. Tobacco 21 is a promising policy to help protect youth from this lifetime addiction to these deadly products.”