MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The Alabama Department of Public Health is investigating eight reported cases of vape-related illness that required hospitalization. Three of the cases were teenagers in Mobile County. One had to be admitted to the intensive care unit. Doctors say the risks of vaping are much greater than people think.
“Sometimes within a matter of weeks to months we’re having a significant younger population come in with far less exposure and they’re having more serious irreversible lung damage,” said Jessica Brock, CRNP for Pulmonary Associates.
Vaping statistics in Alabama are higher than the national average. 25% of Alabama high school students admit to vaping compared to 20% nationwide. Health officials believe a lot more teenagers than just those who admit it are vaping.
A new law goes into effect on October 1 in Alabama that prohibits the sale of vaping products to minors. The law includes restrictions on advertising and limits the flavor options to only menthol, tobacco, or mint.
“I want to send a message to these vape shops that are popping up on every single corner. It is illegal to sell to anyone under the age of 19 and if you do, we will come after you,” said Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich.
Schools have been implementing ways to try to stop kids from vaping. In Fairhope, police are ticketing students who are caught vaping at school.
Health professionals, educators, and law enforcement officials says teen vaping should concern the entire community and they are pleading with parents to have a serious conversation with their children.
Harold Jones is the Youth Tobacco Coordinator for the Mobile County Health Department. He says he will help you figure out the best way to have that conversation with your child. Jones can be reached at 251-544-2064