Ohio bill would prohibit flavored vaping products as illnesses rise to 20

Laura Hancock - Advance Ohio Media, Cleveland (TNS)

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Twenty people have been hospitalized in Ohio for illnesses confirmed likely to be associated with vaping, according to the latest data released Tuesday afternoon by the Ohio Department of Health.

Meantime, two bills were introduced in the Ohio House that would restrict vaping, both sponsored by Rep. Tom Patton, a Strongsville Republican.

House Bill 346 would prohibit the sale of flavored e-cigarettes and products, except for tobacco, and would establish a committee to study the health risks associated with the products.

HB 347 would put restrictions on vaping shops, including prohibiting products from being displayed openly and accessible to the public without intervention of a store employee and prohibiting people under the age of 21 inside the establishments. People guilty of violating the provisions would be guilty of a second-degree misdemeanor.

In Ohio, the median age of people being hospitalized is 21. Seven of the patients are women, and 13 are men.

In Summit County, there are now three confirmed cases. Last week there were two.

Butler, Cuyahoga, Jefferson, Lucas, Montgomery, Portage and Wayne counties each have had one case. Hamilton, Richland and Union counties have had two. Franklin County is now up to four cases.

Twenty-one additional illnesses that may be linked to vaping are under investigation.

Across the country, there are 530 cases of lung injury from 38 states, including Ohio, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Seven deaths have been confirmed in six states, but none in Ohio.

The CDC has said most patients reported using e-vaping products containing THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. Many vaped THC and nicotine. Some reported vaping only nicotine.

In addition to the new bill that would ban flavored e-cigs, Gov. Mike DeWine said last week that his staff was looking into whether he had the legal authority to ban flavored e-cigarettes. A DeWine spokesman said Tuesday the team is still working on it.

It’s not known yet whether the flavors are contributing to illnesses. But public health officials believe the flavors are used to help market the products to young people.


Laura Hancock

Advance Ohio Media, Cleveland (TNS)

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