Texas lawmakers push to regulate the vaping industry

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Vaping is on the rise across the country. Some pediatricians worry children are getting addicted to the nicotine in e-cigarettes.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) supports a bill to make it harder for children to buy e-cigarettes online. The bill passed in the House and is now in the Senate. (Source: GrayDC)

“We don’t want them to think that the nicotine products are okay. They are harmful,” said Dr. Jacqueline Fincher, President-Elect of the American College of Physicians.

Doctor Jacqueline Fincher, President-Elect with the American College of Physicians says electronic cigarettes and vape pens are endangering a generation of children.
Part of the problem, she says—the design and marketing.

“Oh this is cool, it’s safer and it’s clean and it’s slick and it’s a little flash drive and it’s electronic and you can get it in bubble gum flavor,” said Fincher.

Fincher says there is not enough research out there about the long-term impacts vaping can have on a person’s health.

“Are they going to develop all the things that we see particularly in tobacco-related illnesses with cancers, COPD, asthma?” she said.

President-Elect of the American Academy of Pediatrics Dr. Sara Goza says the latest data shows at least a quarter of all high schoolers use e-cigarettes.

“It’s escalating…We are going to see a new generation addicted to nicotine if we don’t stop it now,” said Goza.

House and Senate lawmakers in Washington, D.C. are doing their part working across the aisle to fight this crisis and making it harder for children to buy e-cigarettes.

“Keeping those out of the hands of children I think aught to be a priority for all of us,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX).

Cornyn supports a bill to require online sellers to verify the age of customers buying e-cigarettes online. It would also require adults to present identification when they’re delivered. The bill passed through the House and is now in the Senate.

Cornyn is not the only lawmaker pushing for change.

Texas Republican Congressman Michael McCaul (R-TX) cosponsored a separate bill to prohibit tobacco sales to anyone under 21-years-old. That would include e-cigarettes.

For McCaul, this fight is personal. He has 5 kids. His message to them:

“Don’t do it,” he tells his family.

Boston University Professor of Community Health Sciences Dr. Michael Siegel wants to see more efforts to make sure children under 18 are not using e-cigarettes.

But he cautions against anything drastic like a complete ban on these products because he says the devices are actually helping adults quit smoking.

“If these products are taken off the market, most of them are going to go back to smoking,” said Siegel.

Siegel also says companies should lower nicotine levels in the electronic cigarettes to make them less addictive.

Congress is also considering legislation to prohibit non-tobacco e-cigarette flavors like strawberry, grape, chocolate and mint.

In the wake of multiple deaths related to vaping, the Center for Disease Control reported the chemical vitamin E acetate may be to blame.

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