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Florida Takes Cautious Approach To Combat Vaping Illnesses

18 hours ago

Despite the spread of vaping-related illnesses, Florida’s top health official told legislators the state isn’t taking dramatic steps at this time to address the issue.

Vaping Among Florida's Youth Is Increasing While Tobacco Use Drops

Oct 18, 2019

The use of tobacco products among Florida’s youth is at an all-time low, but that good news is offset by significant increases in the number of children who vape, a state advisory panel was told Thursday. 

How To Talk To Teens About Vaping

Oct 6, 2019

Vape pens are easy to conceal, they're easy to confuse with other electronic gadgets like USB flash drives, and they generally don't leave lingering smells on clothes. All these things make them appealing to underage users, and confounding to parents. Gone are the days when sniffing a teenager's jacket or gym bag counted as passive drug screening. Now if parents want to know if their teens are vaping nicotine or cannabis, their best bet is a good old fashioned conversation.

The mystery of the outbreak of vaping-related lung illnesses is still not solved.

But investigators in Illinois and Wisconsin have found some clues, they announced Friday in a press briefing.

Investigators in these two states conducted detailed interviews with 86 patients — mostly young men — and 66% said they had vaped THC products labeled as Dank Vapes. THC is the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.

What are Dank Vapes and how could they be fueling the outbreak?

Walmart says it will stop selling electronic cigarettes at its namesake stores and Sam's Clubs following a string illnesses and deaths related to vaping.

The nation's largest retailer said Friday that it will complete its exit from e-cigarettes after selling through current inventory. It cited growing federal, state and local regulatory complexity regarding vaping products.

More than 500 people have been diagnosed with vaping-related breathing illnesses. An eight death was reported this week. But health officials still have not identified the cause.

Major broadcast companies including CBS, Viacom, and WarnerMedia say they are pulling ads by e-cigarette makers, as concerns over growing teen use of the products and the hundreds of cases of illnesses linked to vaping continue to mount.

Jay Jenkins says he hesitated when a buddy suggested they vape CBD.

"It'll relax you," the friend assured.

The vapor that Jenkins inhaled didn't relax him. After two puffs, he ended up in a coma.

Rep. Jackie Toldeo, R-Tampa
Alysia Cruz / WUSF Public Media

A local legislator is taking steps to combat what she calls "an alarming and urgent healthcare crisis” – especially among young people.

Rep. Jackie Toledo, R-Tampa, said she is introducing legislation to raise the legal age to purchase vaping and tobacco products to 21.

President Trump announced Wednesday that the administration will move to force e-cigarette companies to take flavored vaping products off the market, as young people's use of them continues to rise and reports emerge of deaths and illnesses tied to vaping.

"Vaping has become a very big business, as I understand it, but we can't allow people to get sick and allow our youth to be so affected," Trump said.

It's still a mystery — what's causing the cluster of severe respiratory illnesses among people who've used e-cigarettes? The FDA says there have been at least 215 reported cases in 25 states.

Nearly three dozen of those cases are in New York state, and investigators there say they are now zeroing in on vitamin E as a possible culprit. Health officials say state lab tests detected high levels of vitamin E in cartridges of cannabis vaping products used by people who vaped and suffered serious lung damage.

Illinois health officials said Friday that a patient who contracted a serious lung disease after vaping has died, which could make it the first death in the United States linked to the smoking alternative that has become popular with teens and young adults.

Close up of a hand holding an e-ciggarette with amber liquid inside.
Lindsay Fox/Flikr

Florida is now one of 16 states where federal and state officials are investigating lung-related illnesses that have suspected ties to e-cigarette use, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

map of states that expanded access to medicaid.
American Cancer Society

Florida is not doing enough to prevent cancer or care for those who get it, according to a new report from the advocacy arm of the American Cancer Society.

After paying billions of dollars to settle lawsuits about the dangers of cigarettes, the tobacco industry is engaged in another public-relations battle, one that is swirling in the Florida Capitol, other state houses throughout the country and in Congress. 

The nation's leading e-cigarette maker is halting store sales of some flavors to deter use by kids.

The move by Juul Labs Inc. comes ahead of an expected U.S. government crackdown on underage sales of flavored e-cigarettes.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration plans to require strict limits on the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes, including age verification controls for online sales, in an effort to curtail their use among children and teenagers.

Buried deep in the War-and-Peace-length tome that is this November's Florida ballot, voters will find a question asking if a ban on offshore drilling and a ban on vaping should be codified in the state constitution.

Yup, Amendment 9 is the bundled amendment bringing together e-cigarettes and oil rigs.

In its own words:

NO. 9

CONSTITUTIONAL REVISION

Article II, Section 7

Article X, Section 20

Updated 11:00 p.m. ET

Chocolate cupcake, creme, mango, tutti frutti, "blue" — sugary-sounding flavors familiar to teenage e-cigarette users are facing more crackdowns from the Food and Drug Administration.

E-cigarette use among young people in Florida spiked over the past year, according to data released by Tobacco Free Florida.

An autopsy report says a 38-year-old Florida man was killed by an exploding vape pen.

Commission Files Eight Measures For November Ballot

May 9, 2018

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission formally concluded its work Wednesday, sending eight proposed constitutional amendments to Secretary of State Ken Detzner for placement on the Nov. 6 general-election ballot.

“After holding more than 15 public hearings, the most in CRC history, and reviewing thousands of public comments, we submitted a compelling set of transformational proposals that have the potential to benefit Floridians for generations to come,” commission Chairman Carlos Beruff said in a statement.

The Food and Drug Administration and Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday sent warning letters to 13 manufacturers, distributors and retailers of e-cigarette liquids. In a phone briefing for reporters, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said the companies are endangering kids by marketing the products to resemble juice boxes, cookies or candy.

"You look at the lollipop for example. I don't see how my 4- or 5-year-old doesn't just look at that and see a lollipop. It's a lollipop," he said.

Florida voters will have a chance to ban vaping in restaurants and other businesses, prohibit oil drilling in state waters, create a list of crime victims' rights and give free state university tuition to the spouses and children of first responders who die on the job.

Panel Eyes Vaping Restriction, Patient Rights

Nov 27, 2017

Vaping could be banned in workplaces, and nursing-home and assisted-living facility residents could be guaranteed certain rights — including the ability to sue without limitations — as part of a series of health-care related proposals being considered by a Florida panel that has the power to place proposed constitutional amendments on the 2018 ballot.

Electronic cigarettes have sickened rising numbers of young children, a study of U.S. poison center calls has found. Most cases involve swallowing liquid nicotine.

House Bill Would Curb Regulation Of E-Cigarettes, Cigars

May 5, 2016

Vape away.

Increasingly popular e-cigarettes and cigar varieties could be exempt from some government safety regulations if House Republicans have their way. It’s a move that alarms Democrats and public health advocates who argue that it could lead to unsafe products.