AP NEWS

Oglala Sioux ban e-cigarettes on Pine Ridge Reservation

September 30, 2019

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — The Oglala Sioux Tribal Council has banned the sale, possession and use of e-cigarettes on the Pine Ridge Reservation amid a nationwide outbreak of vaping-related illnesses.

The tribal council approved the ban last week, the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reported Monday. The maximum penalty for violating the ordinance is a fine of $250 or 30 days in jail.

“The health of our people, including our youth, is of the utmost importance and our tribe has always strived to take a leading role in addressing the health issues of our people,” the ordinance states.

There have been six confirmed cases of vaping-related illness in South Dakota, according to the South Dakota Department of Health, and over 800 across the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with 12 confirmed deaths in other states.

The CDC says most of the patients reported using products containing THC, the chemical that produces marijuana’s high, or both THC-containing products and nicotine-containing products. Some patients reported using only nicotine-containing products. The CDC recommends refraining from using vaping products, particularly those containing THC, while the investigation is ongoing, and against buying these products off the street.

Tribal President Julian Bear Runner heralded the vaping ban as a “bold action” and used the occasion to call for further action to regulate all forms of tobacco and nicotine on the reservation.

“In the near future it would empower us to adopt additional legislation related to the cultivation and sale of all forms of tobacco and nicotine, as those industries have profited from our misery since we can remember,” Bear Runner said in a statement. “It is to our benefit to authorize only tobacco the Oglala Sioux Tribe has sanctioned.”

The Pine Ridge Reservation has a population of roughly 20,000 in southwestern South Dakota.

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Information from: Argus Leader, http://www.argusleader.com