• Congress considers changes to tobacco laws following rise in vaping illnesses, deaths

    By: Samantha Manning

    Updated:

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congress is looking to crack down on teens and young adults vaping.

    Federal lawmakers are considering raising the minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21 following an increase in young people using e-cigarettes.

    Parents and health officials gave testimony to two House committees Wednesday.

    "That friend who was addicted to nicotine, that was my 14-year-old son," Parents Against Vaping E-Cigarettes member Dorian Fuhrman said.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said people under the age of 25 should not use e-cigarette products at all based on the evidence but said it doesn't currently point to a need for an overall ban.

    The agency said it has had difficulty in getting to the root cause of what has given 1,299 e-cigarette users lung disease and killed 26 more nationwide.


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    "The disease unfortunately is moving faster than our data systems and that is a barrier to getting quick answers," CDC Principal Deputy Director Anne Schuchat said.

    The proposed legislation also bans all flavored tobacco products.

    Some lawmakers felt that part of the bill is overreaching.

    "We're discussing banning legal products that have declining usage rates among youth," Rep. Richard Hudson (N-R) said.

    Hudson said the committee should instead focus on preventing youth from vaping.

    Schuchat said while most cases of illnesses involved the use of THC in e-cigarettes, some people used THC and nicotine or just nicotine.

    "We cannot exclude the possibility that nicotine containing products play a role," Schuchat said.

    No date has been set for the House Energy and Commerce Committee to vote on the bill.


     

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