CAPITOL REPORT: REPRESENTATIVE PATRICIA PIKE

Missouri Addresses the Dangers of Vaping

Governor Mike Parson recently signed an executive order that is meant to raise awareness of the risks associated with vaping. The executive order directs the Departments of Health and Senior Services (DHSS)Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE)and Public Safety (DPS) to use existing resources to develop a statewide campaign to educate, warn, and deter the use of vaping devices among Missouri’s youth.  

“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,” said Parson.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently released data showing the increase in the use of vaping among young people has reached the level of an epidemic. The CDC says vaping is now responsible for approximately 1,300 illnesses and at least 26 deaths nationwide. Missouri has seen 22 cases of vaping-related illnesses and one death, with most of these incidents involving young people.

Current Missouri law prohibits the use of vaping devices by individuals under the age of 18, but the Missouri Student Survey has reported an increase in the use of these devices by middle school and high school students every year since 2014. The 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey indicated that the use of vaping devices among high school students increased by 78 percent from 2017 to 2018.

The governor’s executive order directs the state departments to develop and launch an awareness and deterrence campaign within 30 days. It also directs DHSS, DESE, and DPS to review evidence regarding the cases and effects of vaping-related injuries, specifically among youth, and tailor their prevention and educational messaging to counter vaping industry marketing practices that target youth. 

In addition to the Executive Order, Parson also signed letters to the FDA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services supporting their efforts to address the vaping epidemic.

State Capitol Goes Pink to Raise Awareness of Breast Cancer – The Missouri State Capitol Dome was recently illuminated in pink in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The pink dome was meant to commemorate those lost to breast cancer, breast cancer survivors, individuals battling the disease, and medical professionals and researchers working to find a cure.

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month takes place each October to raise awareness about the importance of finding breast cancer early. In 2019, an estimated 268,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the United States, as well as 62,930 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer. According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. In Missouri, breast cancer accounts for one-third of all cancers diagnosed and is the leading cause of cancer deaths in women after lung cancer.

Raising awareness of breast cancer is vital because nearly all breast cancers can be treated successfully if detected early. When detected in the earliest stages, the cure rate is 97 percent. This is why it’s important to be aware of potential breast cancer symptoms and to contact your health care provider immediately if any symptoms are detected. It’s also important to perform monthly breast self-exams, and to have regularly scheduled mammogram screenings and clinical breast exams. In Missouri, the Show Me Healthy Women program offers free breast and cervical cancer screenings for Missouri women who meet age, income, and insurance guidelines. 

Contact Representative Pike at Patricia.Pike@house.mo.gov or call 573-751-5388 with your comments and for assistance on state issues, resolutions, flags, and visits in District and at the Capitol.  Contact Legislative Assistant, Matt Glover, at Matthew.Glover@house.mo.gov.  Our 126th District Office is open year-round at the Missouri Capitol Monday through Thursday – 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. in Room 404A.

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