PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Fed up with seeing so many advertisements for e-cigarettes on his morning commute to school, a 12-year-old boy is taking action. He contacted his local state senator, and now his frustrations may soon be turning into a law.
Miguel Lopez says everywhere he looks, he sees e-cigarettes from billboards to advertising.
“I’m doing this for basically common sense,” said Miguel.
Common sense is how young Miguel sees his initiative to stop vaping companies from advertising their products near his school, ASU Preparatory Academy in downtown Phoenix.
“We were just driving home, and I saw six or seven billboards of the same thing,” said Miguel.
It was early into the year, says the sixth-grader, when it seemed like the advertisements were suddenly everywhere.
At first, says his mother Claudia Lopez, her son thought the devices were USB memory sticks.
“It was during rush hour, so there’s a commute, and he started looking out the window, so he started asking, 'What’s vaping? What’s a vap?' His first thought, they looked like USB sticks. The billboard had a tag line about nicotine being safe, so as soon as you combine those words, it makes it seems like it’s acceptable,” said Claudia.
And that just wasn’t OK to this mother and son duo.
“And he told me, 'Mom, we need to do something about this because vaping is becoming an issue in my school, and I’m concerned about the health of my classmates,'” said Claudia.
They reached out to Arizona Sen. Martín Quezada, D-Phoenix, for help.
“I got on the phone with mom and Miguel, he told me about his concerns. We got to work, and we are about to drop a bill,” said Sen. Quezada.
The proposed bill would regulate vaping advertising in the state, the same way tobacco advertising is regulated.
“They would not be allowed to advertise anywhere near schools, anywhere near playgrounds, public parks,” said Quezada.
And that’s just great for Miguel, who hopes for a smoke-free vape-free morning commute.
Quezada hopes a decision will be made on the bill sometime early next year.