Illinois Lawmakers Tackle Vaping Epidemic

Vaping Epidemic

A vaping wave has swept through the United States leaving in its path over 1,000 lung injury cases and 18 people dead including one in Illinois, according to the Center For Disease Control and Prevention.

Middle school students’ use of e-cigarettes increased 48% from 2017 to 2018, and one Illinois lawmaker believes it’s partially due to how vaping products are advertised.

“These young people who would never ever light up a cigarette, ever, they think that vapes and e-cigs are harmless. ‘They’re just fruity flavors and fun.’ They make them feel good and so why not? And then all of sudden, before they know it, they’re hooked,” said U.S. Representative Lauren Underwood.

Taking Action

Underwood is taking action by co-sponsoring the Smoke-Free Schools Act, which will prohibit the use of vape pens and other e-cigarette products at education and child care facilities.

State Representative Grant Wehrli has filed a bill addressing the vaping epidemic.

“Mine addresses the flavor component of traditional vaping, as well as the THC component, which is, unregulated, proven to be fatal,” said Wehrli. “We hear more and more everyday from the Centers of Disease Control of deaths related to vaping THC from around the country.”

THC In Vaping

THC is the psychoactive component of marijuana. The CDC reports among 578 patients with vaping related illnesses, 78% reported using THC-containing products.

Wehrli’s bill would provide exceptions for mint, wintergreen, and menthol flavors.

His bill is currently in the Rules Committee, and the Smoke-Free Schools Act has been introduced into Congress.

Naperville News 17’s Christian Canizal reports.

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