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Vaping is a major health issue

By Jack Bernard
Bernard is a retired corporate executive.

Thank goodness for Mississippi and Alabama? How many times have you heard this said when it comes to being behind the times? Well, you can’t say it about vaping. Both states have two bills introduced to regulate vaping. We have none.

What is vaping? The short answer is “ask your teen.” He or she will tell you all about e-cigarettes (e-cigs), which heat up a fluid containing nicotine. In short, vaping is defined as the inhaling of the smoke that is a direct result of heating up that liquid.

Unfortunately, much of what the teens think they know is incorrect. Many teens believe vaping is a healthy substitute for regular cigarettes. It’s not.

There are a few local and state voices who recognize the crisis. In particular, Dr. Kathleen Toomey, head of the Georgia Department of Public Health, recently issued a memo to Georgia Boards of Health (note: I am on the Fayette County BOH). Dr. Toomey indicated:

The nicotine in e-cigs impair adolescent development while the use of e-cigs is a gateway to the use of regular cigarettes.

There have already been two deaths here and 21 instances of vaping associated lung disease with another 15 under review.

The average person stricken is a 33-year-old male.

The situation is dire. Vaping affects the brain, especially in teens, and those effects may be non-reversible. It’s certain that it has many other negative health consequences, some of which are already showing up.

Per the CDC, there have already been 1,479 lung disease cases nationwide due to vaping. And, the number is growing rapidly as the use of vaping spreads, especially among our youth.

Therefore, the CDC is recommending that e-cigs not be used at all, even as a substitute for regular cigarettes. Further, the head of the FDA, Scott Gottlieb, has signified that there is a big problem with vaping and has drafted regulatory guidance (FDA-2019-D-0661).

Thus far, efforts by other states have been primarily in four areas:

spreading knowledge about the harms of vaping, especially to younger people;

prohibiting flavored e-cigs;

raising the e-cig smoking age to more than 18 (note: you must be 21 to buy a beer); and

increasing taxes in a major way to cut use and fund preventative measures.

What can you do to prevent this epidemic from spreading?

Contact both your state and federal representatives. Don’t accept the sleezy politician’s typical excuse that the issue needs to be studied or that we need a committee. We already know vaping is killing our kids.