Is vaping a safe alternative to smoking tobacco?
The short answer is no.
The country’s top-selling brand of e-cigarettes, JUUL, contains as much nicotine in a single pod as does a pack of 20 regular cigarettes.
And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that the aerosol e-cigarette users breathe contains other harmful substances as well.
Even the contraption which delivers the aerosol can be dangerous.
A U.S. Fire Administration report found that at least 195 incidents attributed to vape explosions occurred between 2009 and 2016, resulting in 133 acute injuries.
Also, at least two deaths have been linked to vaping.
Just this month, a Texas man died when the e-cigarette he was using exploded, severing an artery to his brain.
Through it all, vaping continues to grow in popularity, especially among the young.
Teen use of e-cigarettes increased by 78 percent in the past year alone, prompting U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams to call the trend an “epidemic.”
In Connecticut, state legislators have wisely introduced bills this session addressing vaping use among minors, including raising the minimum purchasing age on tobacco products from 18 to 21.
And local lawmakers want to address what they describe as a marketing campaign to target and “hook” a new generation of tobacco users.
Mary Abrams, D-Meriden, who chairs the Senate’s Children’s and Public Health Committees, has co-sponsored a bill to ban the sale of all flavored vaping products and another that would address online purchases of vaping products by requiring an individual over 18 to sign for the package.
Rep. Liz Linehan, D-Cheshire, who chairs the House Committee on Children, has co-sponsored five bills concerning vaping, including bills that would tax liquid vaping products at the same rate as other tobacco products, raise fines for selling vape products to minors, and raise the statewide minimum age for tobacco product purchases.
Several municipalities also have discussed ordinances to raise the age for such purchases.
To those communities, which include Meriden, Wallingford and Cheshire, Linehan says, “Don’t wait for us.”
“There are those of us in the legislature that want this to happen, but state government is so much larger,” she said, “so if they can pass an ordinance first, I support that.”
We do as well.