In response to the growing numbers of people experiencing illness from vaping and e-cigarettes, Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot announced today the launch of a task force to examine the health effects and determine if new regulations are necessary.
“As Maryland’s chief tobacco regulator, my job is to safeguard public health, protect consumers and keep dangerous products out of the hands of children,” Franchot said.
“With each passing day, we are learning more about the severe health risks and the 33 confirmed deaths across the United States from vaping. Despite these reports, there is still so much that we do not know about the nature and characteristics of these products,” he added. “It is imperative that those of us in government work closely with public health officials, advocates and retailers to develop a deeper understanding of these products and establish appropriate laws that govern how they are manufactured, distributed and sold.”
According to the Maryland Department of Health, while no deaths have been reported in Maryland, as of October 15 there have been 35 cases of vaping associated lung injury. This is up from 5 reported in August. Patients report using e-cigarettes or vaping in the weeks or months prior to the onset of symptoms, some with THC some without, some purchased legally, some not – the only common denominator seems to be the act of vaping itself. Shortness of breath, chest pain, pain on breathing, wheezing, coughing, and coughing up blood were the most common systoms reported by patients. Other symptoms reported included fever, chills, nausea, weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal pain.
Franchot will ask Maryland’s Speaker of the House and Senate President to appoint two members of their respective chambers to serve on the task force, called “e-facts”, which will convene this fall and continue into 2020.
The task force directives will be:
- To achieve a better understanding of the nature and characteristics of ESDs, including the distinctions between various products within the marketplace
- To gain a comprehensive picture of the public health and safety of ESDs and commercial effects of product sales in Maryland
- To recommend new and stronger laws to ensure that consumers – particularly young people – are protected.
“Understanding these devices and the effects on people, especially teenagers, and the effects on their health and development, is my top priority,” Comptroller Franchot said. “We can only begin to affect change through gathering the necessary data and information needed to save lives.”
The Maryland Department of Health has a website for youth and young adults – TheVapeExperiment.com – that describes the known and unknown hazards with vaping and e-cigarette use.
If you are concerned about your tween or teen and vaping, visit The potential health hazards of vaping for teens at ChesapeakeFamily.com.