The House and Senate have passed a provision regarding the age a person must be to purchase tobacco or e-cigarettes and are waiting for the President to sign it into law.
The new law would make it illegal to purchase e-cigarettes or tobacco if the person is under the age of 21. So far, nineteen states and more than 500 U.S. cities have passed this law, however, this latest provision would apply nationally.
Why Raise The Age To 21?
On Thursday, December 19th, 2019, the Centers for Disease Control reported that more than 2,500 cases of serious lung disease and at least 54 deaths have been connected to vaping. Most of those diagnosed with vaping injuries are quite young.
This fact isn’t surprising given that other studies have shown a rise in the number of teens who have started to vape. The most common reasons that a teen starts to vape include:
- peer pressure
- an interest in the flavors available
- a misguided belief that e-cigarettes are safer than traditional cigarettes
It is this increase in the number of teens choosing to use e-cigarettes and the increase in lung injuries that has resulted in a national outcry and a push for the law to change.
What Is Causing Vaping Injuries?
The CDC still isn’t exactly sure what is causing so many people to suddenly sustain life-threatening lung injuries and are searching for answers. One study has suggested that a Vitamin E Acetate additive could be the underlying cause of damage to the lungs, however, this hasn’t been proven.
15-Year-Old Speaks Out Against Vaping
Zane Martin, a 15-year-old who has been hospitalized for a vaping injury, is speaking out about why he started to vape and urging other teens to stay away from e-cigarettes.
In his interview, Martin stated, “I wish I had never done it.” He went on to describe how it was the flavors of the tobacco that really interested him and that he first started vaping while with friends at a local skate park.
Not long after he started vaping, Martin went to the hospital for difficulty breathing. The doctor prescribed him an inhaler and Tylenol and sent him home. Then he collapsed.
It turned out that he had a physical air leak and his chest and neck were filling with air that was leaving his lungs. Since the first hospital failed to treat his condition, he developed a MRSA infection in addition to the severe lung injury. He had to undergo several surgeries and was placed in a medically induced coma so that his lungs could rest and heal.
The reality is that he is lucky to be alive.
Marin is just one of the thousands whose lives have been impacted by vaping injuries. Hopefully, with ongoing education and stricter laws, teens and adults will quit and live happier and healthier lives.