Health official urges Kansans to stop vaping; Goddard USD 265 approves filing lawsuit against e-cig maker

The state’s top health official Tuesday urged Kansans to stop vaping after a vaping-related death and a Kansas school board approved filing a lawsuit against e-cigarette manufacturers.

“It is time to stop vaping,” said Dr. Lee Norman, the Kansas State Health Officer and secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. “If you or a loved one is vaping, please stop,” he said.

Gov. Laura Kelly also urged Kansans to follow the recommendations of public health officials.

More than 450 serious lung injuries and six deaths related to the use of e-cigarettes have been reported in 33 states, including at least six reports in Kansas, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A Kansan, over 50 years old who had underlying health issues, died in what was reported as vaping-related.

The increase in people using e-cigarettes, or vaping, has been described by health and education officials as an epidemic.

The Goddard USD 265 school board on Monday approved a resolution to sue e-cig manufacturers “for damages suffered by the district and its students as a result of the manufacture, marketing, sale and use of electronic-cigarettes and vaping products, and to seek any other appropriate relief.”

The school board’s resolution targeted leading e-cigarette manufacturer, Juul, alleging the company is marketing its product to teenagers and children. The Food and Drug Administration has also accused Juul of illegally marketing its products as a safer alternative than smoking cigarettes.

Meanwhile, the state’s E-Cigarette/Vaping Task Force reported to the State Board of Education that proposed legislation is almost ready that would increase the minimum age in Kansas to purchase tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, from 18 to 21. The legislation will be considered during the 2020 session which starts in January.

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