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The Vaping Epidemic

Monday, Dec 9th

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The Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce latest Government Forum outlined the problem of vaping among young people and the deceptiveness the industry is using to lure younger children into what is becoming a health crisis.

The November 30th panel discussion at the St. Elizabeth Healthcare Training and Education Center covered the scope of the problem and possible solutions. The panel consisted of moderator Garren Colvin, St. Elizabeth President and CEO, State Representative Kim Moser, Ben Chandler, President and CEO, Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and Stephanie Vogel, Director of Population Health, NKY Health Department.

The facts:

  • 27 percent of high school students use vaping products, adults only three percent
  • The use of vaping products in young adults (18-34) is higher than national averages
  • The pods in vaping devices can pack the same punch as a pack of cigarettes
  • Vaping is often used as a pathway to regular cigarette use among teens
  • “Big Tobacco” outspends public health campaigns 73-1 in pushing its products (Kentucky health advocates are trying to get public health education funds more than tripled to $10 million in the coming year)

Chandler showed the types of devices used to vape, some looking like computer flash drives, TV remotes and in a bizarre example talked about clothing is used, displaying what looked like a small sized ‘hoodie’ where what looked like a draw string amounted to a vaping pipe.

Although not clinically proven according to Representative Moser, it’s believed an acetate in vaping pods cause a thickening in the lining of the lungs, potentially destroying the organs.

The Food and Drug Administration is not regulating vaping but legislators here and elsewhere are seeking to tax vaping materials to make it unaffordable for youth, also providing greater restrictions on where such materials can be bought, such as vape shops, which are less accessible to children. But Chandler says the sellers need to be punished not the buyers in any  legal remedies.

Written by Pat Frew, Executive Director, Covington Business Council