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Curbing vaping will be uphill battle

woman vaping
REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
The following is an editorial by The Mankato Free Press.

The more e-cigarettes grow in popularity and the more they are studied, the more concern arises over their health effects.

While much still needs to be learned about vaping, it’s clear teen vaping is a dangerous practice that is likely to create more addicted people, more cigarette smokers and more illness.

Juul Labs has peddled its e-cigarettes with the same skill big tobacco used to hook youth and create a base of lifetime users.

The nicotine taken in with vaping is addictive, and when used in adolescence or young adulthood creates impacts on brain development.

The liquid in e-cigarettes is marketed in a variety of candy flavors clearly aimed at getting kids, unaware of the dangers, to begin using what they often believe is a harmless product.

The Minnesota Department of Health’s most recent survey from 2018 reports 1 in 5 high school students use e-cigarettes — a nearly 50 percent increase since 2014.

While backers of vaping say it is a way cigarette smokers can switch to a less dangerous habit, health officials say e-cigarette use increases the likelihood of smoking cigarettes among young people.

Now comes disturbing news that shows a potential link between vaping and pulmonary disease.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports more than 150 cases of possible vaping-linked lung disease. One person who vaped and developed pulmonary disease has died.

It’s too early to know exactly if vaping is the primary cause of the mystery lung diseases, but the CDC is alarmed enough to begin a full investigation into it.

While public awareness over the dangers of vaping is growing, it is a problem that has spread so rapidly and has created such immense financial gain for Juul that slowing its growth will be daunting.

States and the federal government need to step up their efforts.

San Francisco, where Juul Labs is based, became the first city to ban all sales of electronic cigarettes in the city.

Eighteen states have passed laws banning the sale of tobacco, although not all include e-cigarettes.

It’s long past time the Minnesota Legislature raise the state’s age for buying tobacco and e-cigarettes to 21. So far, 29 cities and four counties in Minnesota have raised the legal buying age for tobacco to 21, but state lawmakers have failed to act.

It’s also time for a federal ban on TV advertising for e-cigarettes. While cigarette advertising has been banned on TV for nearly 50 years, vaping isn’t addressed in the law.

While going up against vaping will be an uphill battle, it isn’t one that should be abandoned.

For decades society failed to challenge big tobacco companies and generations of people were were addicted.

The same shouldn’t happen with e-cigarettes.

Republished with permission.


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Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Joel Stegner on 09/03/2019 - 01:46 pm.

    Raise the age to 21 for all tobacco products in Minnesota snd apply the tobacco ban on advertising for vaping federally. Two tangible things that should be done now!

  2. Submitted by Alan Straka on 09/03/2019 - 02:27 pm.

    Ban the use of flavored vaping liquids and you will eliminate the vast majority of underage usage. It is the flavorings that are getting kids to try vaping and before they realize it, the nicotine has them hooked. Despite their denials there is no doubt that companies like Juul are deliberately targeting the young.

  3. Submitted by Tom Anderson on 09/03/2019 - 09:34 pm.

    “Eighteen states have passed laws banning the sale of tobacco”

    Which 18 states have banned the sale of tobacco?

  4. Submitted by Peggy Reinhardt on 09/04/2019 - 08:57 am.

    Time to hear more from young users. One told me recently that they started smoking cigarettes in high school and changed to vaping to curb smoking but nicotine addiction worsened. Plus the cost of vaping is at least double cost of pack of cigarettes. They said they felt there were salts in Juul that made them increase water into their lungs. Should ingredients be disclosed? What is causing pulmonary disease?

    Devices are not only easy to conceal, but don’t leave tell-tale odor or smoke – easy to be cool by using in classroom or at home!

    Also told me that a younger sibling says the big joke in high school is: “What’s that toilet doing in our vaping room.”

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