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Vaping is not a safer alternative

At one time, companies who produced them wanted consumers to believe electronic cigarettes/vaping products were “safe,” particularly when compared to traditional cigarettes and other tobacco products. That claim, combined with an aggressive marketing effort and the development of products that — though the companies pretend this was not the intent — are appealing to kids, has meant vaping is exploding in popularity across the country.

In reality, of course, none of these products is safe. An alarming trend has prompted Ohio Department of Health officials to speak out; and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to update their recommendations. At least four confirmed cases of severe pulmonary disease after vaping have been reported in Ohio, and another 11 cases are under investigation. The CDC says more than 200 cases have been reported across the country.

That prompted the agency to recommend, “While the investigation is ongoing, people should consider refraining from using e-cigarette or vaping products if they are concerned about the health risks.”

Tobacco companies have been one step ahead of regulations for as long as they have existed. And, make no mistake, we are still dealing with tobacco companies here. Juul is owned by Altria, the company that also owns Marlboro; Vuse is owned by R.J. Reynolds (Newport, Camel, etc.); Blu is owned by Imperial Brands (Imperial Tobacco).

Those are companies with long histories of knowing they are shilling deadly products and figuring out how to get past all the rules to continue profiting from them, anyway. Should an investigation determine these companies understood the dangers inherent in their products and kept that information from consumers, they should get more than a slap on the wrist and the suggestion to include yet another warning label.

Meanwhile, talk to your kids, friends, loved ones — anyone who does or might be considering using vaping products. Many of them have been misled, and may be at risk.

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