Health officials in more than 30 states are investigating reports of people getting sick from the use of electronic cigarettes, and at least six deaths are being blamed on e-cigarette use.
Now, the federal government and private health advocates are warning people about the dangers of vaping and calling for stricter regulations for the industry.
Officials in Houston are the latest to sound the alarm on the dangers of vaping.
“The bottom line is this is a real phenomenon. Parents need to look out for your kids. Find out what they are doing. Educate them that this is dangerous,” says Dr. David Persse of the Houston Public Health Authority.
The city is investigating three cases of lung disease believed to be tied to the use of e-cigarettes.
Across the country, at least 450 people have gotten sick.
The Centers for Disease Control and state health departments are scrambling to find the cause of this sudden surge in vaping illnesses, and whether it’s confined to e-cigarettes filled with nicotine liquids or those with cannabis components putting otherwise healthy people in the hospital.
On Monday, the federal government threatened to take action against Juul, accusing the e-cigarette maker of marketing directly to students and calling its device as “totally safe.”
Juul says it is reviewing the letter and will fully cooperate.
Meanwhile, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says he’ll spend $160 million to get flavored e-cigarettes banned in the United States.
“To allow kids to go ahead and buy this product with flavors that really appeal to them, and to damage their health for the rest of their lives perhaps, before we ever do the research is just unconscionable,” Bloomberg says.
The governor of Michigan has banned flavored vaping products, and the governor of New York is said to be considering the same move.
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