King County issues warning against risks posed by vaping

Seattle and King County Public Health issued a warning Friday, cautioning smokers on the risks associated with e-cigarettes, vaping, and THC products.

"As of August 27, 2019, hundreds of possible cases of severe lung illness associated with e-cigarette use have been reported from 25 states, and more are under investigation," KCPH said in a news release. "One patient (in Illinois) with a history of recent e-cigarette use with severe pulmonary disease died."

While noting that no cases of illness related to vaping have been reported in Washington, Public Health still outlined negative side effects that can come into play just "a few days to several weeks after e-cigarette use."

This comes shortly after Milwaukee city officials issued a statement of their own, urging people to stop vaping immediately in the face of potential health risks. Meanwhile, the City of Seattle is weighing a vaping ban, akin to one passed in San Francisco earlier this summer.

"Bold move by San Francisco. It's time to have this discussion in Seattle," Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan Tweeted back in June.

Recent data claims that while the overall teen smoking rate is at an all-time low, 20 percent of high school students and 5 percent of middle schoolers use e-cigarettes. Overall, that marks a 78 percent increase year-over-year.

UCSF doctor and leading expert on nicotine Neal Benowitz labeled a blanket ban on e-cigarettes "terrible," calling that data deceptive.

"It's well-intentioned, but the people who voted on it really didn't hear the full story," Benowitz told The New York Times, pointing out that a large portion of young people use e-cigarettes less than 10 days a month.

Washington state recently raised the age to buy tobacco products and e-cigarettes to 21.

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