HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - Officials in Connecticut are calling for a ban on e-cigarettes after six deaths were believed to be linked to vaping.

On Friday, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro blasted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration FDA for failing to protect people.

She’s now urging the Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control for an all-out ban on the products.

"This is dangerous. 25 percent of our young people are vaping,” DeLauro said.

While saying the products are harmful, she said the FDA was supposed to do testing before letting the products be sold.

"Both administrations, and the Food and Drug Administration, our regulatory agency, have a product on the market that's illegal,” DeLauro said.

Both former President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump’s administration have delayed action, and DeLauro said in the meantime, hundreds are getting sick and some have even died.

Health officials continue to call vaping a serious health concern and are warning people to stop using vaping products until their effects can be further studied.

"Nicotine is more addictive than alcohol, more addictive than cannabis, more addictive than most substances,” said Dr. J. Craig Alan, chief medical officer at Rushford Behavioral Health.

He treats people with addictions and said children are getting hooked on vaping and e-cigarettes. He said some of the products have the equivalent level of nicotine as two packs of cigarettes.

However, there are folks who are using vape and e-cigarette products as a way to quit smoking cigarettes.

"if someone is trying to stop smoking, they should use their health care provider. You should use evidence-based approach including FDA approved medications and nicotine patches and gums and so forth,” Alan said.

In addition to the six people who have died, more than 450 people were hospitalized nationwide with cases of severe lung disease, according to the Department of Public Health.

Eleven of those people were in Connecticut.

Seven of those case were in Fairfield County, three were in New Haven County and one was in New London County.

In Connecticut, the victims ranged from ages 15 to 50. Some have already been released from the hospital.

A local vape shop owner said she welcomes testing but still feels vaping is a safer alternative to smoking.

"Being a 28-year smoker that wreaked havoc on my lungs, vaping has allowed me a higher lung capacity and vaping has improved the quality of my life," said Christine Mazzotta, who opened Vapor 9 in 2013.

"All of these products have been registered with the FDA. All of our ingredient lists are due as of May 2020. To say nothing is being done or the FDA is doing nothing is simply false," she added.

She also said a ban would create an enormous black market.

Joe Voelker was a smoker for 5 years and switched to e-cigarettes because he thought it was healthier.

"I breath better and not to be gross but I started coughing things up when I started stopping,” Voelker said.

He said he didn’t feel good when he smoked or vaped and he quit. He learned a lot about his own addiction and now provides counseling to other helps live healthier lives.

He also realized when it comes to vaping, you tend to do it more often and inhale more nicotine because of it.

"With the e-cig you can do it at the computer, you can do it in the kitchen, you can do it anywhere, and it’s just water vapor so you don't mind that it’s in your home,” Voelker said.

Doctors say it’s not just water in the vapor, but that there are chemicals like formaldehyde and heavy metals, and those around you can also be affected.

Starting Oct. 1, a new law will only allow those 21 and older to buy these products in Connecticut.

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

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(6) comments

AFisch

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro is horribly misinformed.

Dr. Leonard Bernstein has done tests of over 900 samples and found no formaldehyde in the vapor. And other substances were found to be less than OSHA standards for a working environment. You would be at a higher risk following that truck on the highway for only ½ hour. So instead of saying "Doctors found" tell us who they were, I would like to review their findings.

I quit smoking 5 years ago thanks to vaping and I feel so much better. I too went through the phase of “cleaning” out my lungs, and what a life saver! I tried the patches, the gum and the Dr. prescribed medication, but I always went back. Yes nicotine is addictive and I hate that I ever started.

If you look at what happens when you burn tobacco, there is over 9000 harmful chemicals produced. In vapor there is 9 and again these are below the OSHA threshold. I’m glad I switched!

So far out of the recent deaths related to vaping, most have come forward to say it was an illegal (except 1) THC product they used. The rest are trying not to get in trouble with their parents for using a marijuana product.

Kids will always be getting into what they are not allowed to. It is a shame so many are trying it, I hope for their sakes they don’t get addicted. But banning vape juice all together will just create an unmonitored black market (I for one will blend my own juice if need be) and the stuff you buy there is loaded with garbage you don’t want in your lungs.

It's because of people like Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro who are afraid of new things and because of that nothing in this state can ever improve. Take note Senator Blumenthal.

If she wants the facts, try going to www.casaa.org. Where people tell the truth, and to quote the POTUS, avoid fake news. On second thought, the POTUS should go there as well.

Jame Gumb

Underage kids buying Chinese junk overseas since they can't buy food grade juices made in the US legally. Or trying to do the same with CBD or THC vaping products. None of these politicians have a clue about the vaping industry. They just jump on whatever bandwagon. E-cigs is such an outdated term, and Rosa DeLauro is outdated herself. She'll do or say anything to keep getting re-elected and get rich from taxpayers.

shannon P

So I noticed that they ask people to follow a number of rules for comments here. One of them is "Be truthful". So I will be truthful. All the evidence of these lung illnesses is pointing to vitamin E acetate found in illegal bootleg THC cartridges. Of all the legal nicotine products tested, none of them have been found to contain anything unusual that could be causing these problems. So the media should really start making it clear that there is a big difference between illegal THC products purchased on the black market and legal nicotine products that have been out for 10+ years with no issues. Ask yourself this, why have people been vaping nicotine for 10+ years with no problems now, with the recent big boom in bootleg thc carts, are we only seeing problems now from people who claim to have only been vaping for a short time? What I'm saying here should be starting to make more sense. There is so much more I could say here but go do your research. You will find exactly what I found. I vape nicotine and flavors saved my life from deadly cigarettes. I feel healthier than ever after 6 years of vaping.

Logicandreason101

Is it all e-cigs or is it the black market cartridges?

shannon P

It's black market THC cartridges that contain vitamin E acetate in them. This problem is not being caused by nicotine products that are FDA regulated and sold in vape shops.

SOL

Leftists LOVE to ban stuff while screaming how our democracy is threatened.

Comical.

And how come the lead story isnt the Democrat debacle...I mean debate?

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