How is Alabama combating vape-related illness?

How is Ala. combating vape-related illness

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The Alabama Department of Public Health announced Wednesday they are now investigating 15 cases of lung disease possibly associated with e-cigarette use or vaping.

“This has become an epidemic in the last year or two," said State Representative Shane Stringer of Mobile County.

He thinks the state needs to take more steps to counteract this problem.

"We've got to have more regulation and more accountability to deal with these vapes and the vaping industry," said Stringer.

He is one of those lawmakers who sponsored the recent vaping legislation that just became law on August 1. It placed restrictions on advertising and makes it possible to be fined, or even jailed, for selling vaping products to anyone under 19.

But is more work required at the legislative level? Stringer says maybe.

“One thing we may want to look at is increasing the age to 21, like we’re talking about with tobacco. And see if that would help to try and curb some of it," he said. “We may want to look at banning some of the flavors. The packaging of these devices you can’t tell the difference between a candy aisle and a vaping aisle in the convenience store.”

He also thinks state agencies including the Department of Public Health plays a role.

“They’re going to have to step up their game. They’re probably like every other agency, they are tasked with doing more with less. But they are going to have to find a way to address this and deal with it. I mean we’re talking about the safety of our community and our state,” said Stringer.

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