HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - Lawmakers have a warning for parents and teachers as concerns continue to grow about what's being viewed as a vaping epidemic.

Some in Connecticut, including Sen. Richard Blumenthal, want the federal government to take immediate action on what they consider the "deceptive marketing" of e-cigarettes.

There have been 30 deaths related to vaping nationwide, and 1,500 have been hospitalized.

Blumenthal wants the Food and Drug Administration to stop the sales of any vaping product disguised as things like USB drives.

A new study suggests that vaping e-liquids, specifically propylene glycol and glycerin, may lead to some inflammation in the lungs -- but more research is needed to determine just how much inflammation may occur over a prolonged period of time.

He said they're easy for teens to hide at home and at school.

Health officials call the vaping problem a national public health crisis. The concern is the toll it's taking on the health of teenagers.

Some lawmakers claim e-cigarette companies like JUUL market their products in a deceptive way. They believe the smell and flavors are made to look appealing to teens.

In Connecticut, state health officials confirmed at least 34 cases of lung injuries that were connected to vaping. One person has died.

"Children and adults have sustained significant burn injuries due to device malfunctions and many young children have been treated for poisoning the wonderfully favored vape juice. To be clear, the nicotine content in one small bottle of vape juice may be enough to kill a child," said Dr. Melanie Collins, of Connecticut Children's Medical Center.

"As a state health official, I am deeply alarmed by the outbreak of severe lung illnesses and deaths association with vaping," said Renee Coleman-Mitchell, Connecticut Department of Public Health. "This is public health emergency."

With flu season getting underway, doctors said they're worried about people who vape having an increased chance of getting the virus.

"It comes down to this. Do you want to wait another 50 years to combat the vaping epidemic? We need to act now or we run the risk of losing a whole generation to severe illness or worse, death," Coleman-Mitchell said.

Health officials said because the specific cause of the lung injury is not yet known, the best thing to do is stop using e-cigarettes and vaping products altogether.

Massachusetts and Rhode Island have banned flavored e-cigarette products.

Connecticut's governor has had several conversations with New York’s governor for a regional approach.

Both feel a ban would create an even bigger and more dangerous black market.

Those who sell vaping products agree, and some support a limit on how much nicotine is sold.

"This has some real long-term health effects and you think the FDA would have been looking at that. I have a feeling they are going to be looking at and certifying vaping in the near future,” Gov. Ned Lamont said.

JUUL announced last week that it would stop selling several of its flavored products in the U.S.

Copyright 2019 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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(1) comment

Jame Gumb

Poor misguided Commiecrats. JUUL (robot tampons) don't look or smell good to anyone. They're garbage compared to higher quality juices made from a handful of food-grade items and vaped through rigs that most kids can't afford. And all this wasting of tax dollars over a "health crisis" caused by kids buying illegal underground THC products. Meanwhile millions and millions of people have been vaping for years without issue. Just Commiecrats manufacturing a "crisis" as we get closer to an election.

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