#parents | #teensvaping | Tennessee lawmaker proposes added vaping regulations

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A state lawmaker has filed two bills regarding vaping ahead of the 2020 legislative session.

The bills come after officials said two Tennesseans died from vaping-related illnesses in 2019. Dozens of other Tennesseans became sick, health officials said. Both were filed by Sen. Brenda Gilmore.

The first bill would add an additional warning label onto vaping products. Vaping products that contain nicotine already come with a federal warning on the packaging. The proposed state warning is much longer and reads:

“WARNING: The use of e-cigarettes is unsafe for kids, teens, and young adults. Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is highly addictive and can harm adolescent brain development into the early to mid-20s. Ecigarette aerosol is NOT harmless water vapor and can contain harmful and potentially harmful substances, including nicotine; ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs; flavoring, such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to a serious lung disease; volatile organic compounds; cancercausing chemicals; and heavy metals, such as nickel, tin, and lead. Lung injury associated with e-cigarette use or vaping has been reported, including deaths. Children and adults have been poisoned by swallowing, breathing, or absorbing e-cigarette liquid through their skin or eyes. Defective e-cigarette batteries have caused fires and explosions.”

The second bill would require the state Department of Health to offer vaping-related illness on its website and “in coordination with the department of education, to disseminate the information to students in public middle schools, junior high schools, and senior high schools in this state.”

“Public health, in general, it’s about being informed, its about knowing what the dangers may or may not be,” Metro Public Health Department spokesperson Brian Todd said, adding that the proposals could especially help prevent teens from starting vaping. “In one CDC study, they showed that middle schoolers who were using the product, a third of them didn’t know they contained nicotine. That in and of itself is reason to make sure these products are labeled.”

Local vape shop owner MJ Jordan said he is okay with the added warnings, but worries about what other bills could be taken up during the legislative session, which is scheduled to start January 14. He said some of the proposals that have be floated in Tennessee and in other states, like increased age requirements, could be harmful to his business.

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