Bacon: The case against vaping keeps building

Posted by: Adam Kern  | Friday, September 13, 2019

A new popular trend could be dangerous and even life threatening. Nationwide, U.S. health officials announced they are now investigating more than 450 cases of possible vaping-related illnesses in 33 states, including at least six deaths. Here in Indiana, health officials recently confirmed a patient died from a severe lung injury caused by vaping. Everyone needs to be more aware of the potential risks of vaping and what is being done to combat this new health risk.

While vaping has been viewed by many as a safer alternative to smoking, new evidence is showing that this might not be the case. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration and state health departments are investigating this threat. Health officials say they haven't found a definitive cause or a clear connection between cases, but some are zeroing in on potential clues. Additionally, they did not identify any particular brand of e-cigarette, but expressed concern about any product sold on the street or tampered with by users.

Another cause for concern is that e-cigarettes are growing increasingly popular among our youth. Up until 2017, rates of tobacco use among teens was in clear decline, but the new trend of vaping has shockingly reversed those gains. According to 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey data, current e-cigarette use — or “vaping” — among middle and high school students increased alarmingly between 2017 and 2018, with over 3.6 million kids using e-cigarettes in 2018.

Unfortunately, many tobacco and e-cigarette companies target kids and young adults with their marketing by including fun flavors, and hip messages and packaging with their products. The stakes are too high to allow them to influence our children and start bad habits that could impact them for the rest of their lives.

Many states and officials are taking action, with Michigan becoming the first to ban flavored e-cigarettes, and the Trump Administration is also looking in to implementing a ban on flavored e-cigarettes.

As a respiratory therapist, I am very concerned about the effects of vaping. Indiana is devoting an estimated $2.1 million on an education, awareness and prevention campaign, as well as a texting program that allows students to enter "DITCHJUUL" in their phones to get addiction help. I am also looking in to proposing legislation to further address the issue and protect our kids from the dangers of vaping.

If you or a loved one are vaping, please stop. There is too much risk at this time to justify the use of e-cigarettes. I encourage you to seek resources to learn the truth about vaping and to help overcome any reservations you may have about quitting. For more information about the dangers of vaping and to find resources to help those struggling with addiction, visit MyLifeMyQuit.com. Please do not hesitate to contact me at h75@iga.in.gov if you have any additional questions or if you need help.

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State Rep. Ron Bacon (R-Chandler) represents House District 75, 
which includes portions of Warrick, Pike and Spencer counties.

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