CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) — The nationwide health concern about e-cigarettes and vaping is now prompting action at the state and local level. The numbers tell us why. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 24,000 lung injuries have been logged. It gives a range for each state, and West Virginia has had as many as nine injuries. In Kentucky between 10 and 49 cases were reported, and in Ohio, as many as 99 people became ill or injured.
It’s because of numbers like these that the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department is now considering a ban on electronic smoking devices in workplaces and in public places.
“One thing that we have been seeing is that kids are becoming addicted to nicotine at an earlier age. This is dangerous. It leads to lifetime nicotine abuse, and or smoking,” said Kanawha-Charleston Public Health Officer Dr. Sherri Young.
The health department is seeking public comment for 30 days, on the ban that could affect businesses, schools, and stores. Meanwhile, the state legislature convenes next month and will consider numerous vaping and e-cigarette bills, including one to raise the legal age to use or purchase, to 21.
Another new report from the CDC shows that nearly 80 percent of all vaping injuries happen in people under the age of 35. Delegate Andrew Robinson is a legislator and a dad.
“Those of us with kids in middle school and high school are very interested in this because we have to watch out what are children are doing and what they can go out and get into trouble and cause health problems that are going to cause them problems all the way through their older ages,” said Del. Andrew Robinson (D-Kanawha).
The State of Kentucky is also considering a ban on flavored liquids for e-cigarettes.
Of course whatever the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department does, only applies in that county and city. What the State Legislature does on vaping would apply in all 55 counties.