La Crosse health educators calling for more restrictions on vaping products

Vaping loophole
The U.S. House passed a bill earlier this week that bans the sale of all flavored vaping products. The current FDA ban prohibits retailers from selling flavored e-cigarette pods or cartridges.

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – Lawmakers around the country and Wisconsin are still trying to stop youth vaping. The U.S. House passed a bill last week that bans the sale of all flavored vaping products.

The current FDA ban prohibits retailers from selling flavored e-cigarette pods or cartridges. The ban doesn’t include flavored juices and disposable e-cigarettes leaving a loophole for teenagers.

“We don’t regulate e-cigarette products hardly at all,” said Judi Zabel, health educator for La Crosse County.

Any time there is a new product on the market there are many mysteries behind its pretty packaging.

“They could be made in a bathtub,” Zabel said. “It is a wild wild west show out there with e-cigarettes.”

She said the effect on youth is still a major concern.

“The product itself is stickier. It’s going deeper into our alveoli and staying there,” Zabel said. “Remember our brains are not fully developed until age 25. It’s not water. It’s chemicals that are being put into the air.”

A surgeon general report shows vaping is up among teens to more than 20 percent. As of February, more than 2,800 people have been hospitalized and 68 people have died according to the CDC.

“We have to make sure we are stemming the tide of this e-cigarette usage among young people,” said Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, while at an event in La Crosse Wednesday.

In our technology age, vaping products are geared toward young people. They make them look like a lot of things we have in our pocket like a cellphone. Some look like phone chargers, but they also serve as a vaping device.

The amount of nicotine in these devices is the same as a pack of cigarettes or more, according to Zabel. They make it pretty easy to order these things online. Even though the law says you have to be 21 years old or older. It’s pretty easy to bypass those rules on the internet.

New regulations in February stopped the sale of flavored pods and cartridges, but Zabel said that’s all it did.

“That primarily is the Juul. You have a pod and it’s disposable,” she said.

However, there are several products that are still legal on the market.

“It’s a concern that teachers have because it’s been impacting their classrooms,” Kaul said. “Working to address this issue is one that is critical for public health.”

Legislation to ban flavored e-cigarette and flavored tobacco products will go before the U.S. Senate but it is not expected to pass.

E-cigarettes are not an FDA approved solution to quit smoking. Health educators say you should call 1-800 QUIT-NOW for information on how to quit smoking.

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