SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KRON) – State lawmakers are keeping an eye on how new federal and local laws are impacting vaping rates across California.
“We need to stop the bleeding now,” Senator Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, said.
State and local health officials Wednesday weighed in on the latest numbers of vaping and nicotine use in California.
With the rising popularity of e-cigarettes, health officials told lawmakers nicotine use in California has also been on the rise since 2017.
Officials say a quarter of America’s youth is now hooked.
“Unfortunately it is true these individuals will be seeking other products in the interim, it will be critical for us to come up with ways to help wean them off this addiction, they’re assisted to much higher levels than we’ve ever seen,” Dr. Michael Ong, UCLA, said.
The State Department of Health says as of this week, there have been 208 cases of Evali, a vape related lung injury, with four deaths across 31 counties in California since August of last year.
Patients range in age from 14 to 71 years old but health officials say lately cases of Evali are on a downward trend but couldn’t say exactly why.
“We remain vigilant, it’s not clear this is gone forever. Our investment in surveillance of these products is going to be key going forward,” Dr. Sonia Angell, State Public Health Officer, said.
Several local governments across the state and the Trump administration ramped up restrictions on flavored tobacco and e-cigarette sales.
The federal government recently banned the sale of some flavored products.
The California legislature this year is also considering a full-on ban on the sale of all flavored tobacco products.
Health officials say it could be a long time before we see the most significant impacts of e-cigarettes.