Concerns regarding vaping are rising in Kentucky, as more residents are developing lung injuries after using e-cigs. State and government agencies are releasing data on the incidents as it’s discovered, but there is still so much we don’t know about the dangers of vaping. In response to the concerns and injuries, public health officials in Kentucky have issued a warning to stop vaping.
Outbreak of Lung Injury Associated with Vaping
As of October 3, 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), state and local health departments, and other public health partners are investigating outbreaks all over the country of lung injury associated with vaping products.
According to the CDC, as of October 1, 2019, over 1,000 lung injury cases associated with e-cig use have been reported. The majority of patients are males under the age of 35. All have a history of vaping, and most patients report a history of using THC-containing products. Those reports come from 48 states and 1 U.S. territory. In 15 of those states, 18 deaths have been confirmed.
There is a lot, however, that the CDC does not know yet. The cause of the lung injuries is unknown because a specific chemical exposure hasn’t been identified. Additionally, no single product or substance has been linked to the lung injury cases.
While the investigation is ongoing, the CDC recommends that people refrain from using e-cig products. If anyone experiences symptoms like coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue, fever, nausea, vomiting, or abdominal pain after using a vape, they should go to the doctor as soon as possible.
The Public Health Warning in Louisville
In response to the CDC’s findings and investigation, Louisville officials issued a public health warning to anyone using e-cigarettes or other vaping products. As a result of the national outbreak of severe lung injury, users are asked to stop vaping.
There are currently 20 cases of lung injury related to vaping under investigation in Kentucky. At the time of the press conference, three of those cases were probable and one was confirmed. One of the cases under investigation is in Louisville.
The 2018 Kentucky Initiatives for Prevention Survey indicated nearly 25% of Kentucky teens use e-cigarettes on a daily basis. According to Dr. Sarah Moyer, the director of the Department of Public Health and Wellness and Louisville’s chief health strategist, “Vaping is not safe. This outbreak of e-cigarette-related injury and death is disproportionately hitting young people and it’s something we’ve never seen before.”
To combat the issue, the state is urging parents, teachers, and mentors to talk to children about the potentially deadly consequences of vaping. Local schools are also launching anti-vaping campaigns to warn students about the dangers and potential health consequences. Former smokers are advised to take advantage of the Stop Smoking classes offered by the Department of Public Health and Wellness.
Ben Chandler, President and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, acknowledged that e-cigarettes are largely unregulated. At the moment, no government entity oversees what goes into them and no authority tests them for safety. It’s possible many e-cigs on the market are mislabeled. Chandler advocates for an excise tax on e-cigs, which is a proven measure to reduce tobacco use among youth and pregnant women.
Vaping and E-Cigarette Laws in Kentucky
While there are no regulations for e-cig packaging or non-sales tax in Kentucky, there are restrictions in place for retail and youth access. The sale or distribution of vape products, which includes free samples, is prohibited to anyone under the age of 18. Anyone under 18 is not allowed to purchase or possess e-cigarette products.
In addition to those restrictions, there are certain areas where vape users are not allowed to use their devices. The use of electronic cigarettes is prohibited on all properties owned or operated by the Executive branch, in courtrooms, on school property, and in underground mines. Childcare professionals are also banned from vaping in the presence of a minor.
If you’ve been diagnosed with a lung disease after using an e-cigarette or vape products, you may have grounds to file a personal injury claim. Determining liability and seeking compensation can be a challenge, especially when going up against major e-cigarette companies. That’s why you need representation from a trusted law firm. At Thomas Law Offices, we stay up-to-date with all news regarding vaping and related injuries. We’ll be prepared to build a strong case on your behalf. To learn more about the litigation process, contact us today.