FDA takes action against e-cigarette epidemic among youth

By Lezla Gooden - Reporter

SALEM, Va. - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a large crackdown on Wednesday, clamping down on the use of e-cigarettes by minors.

The FDA is calling the use of e-cigarettes by young people an epidemic. The FDA took the largest enforcement action against more than 1,300 retailers and five manufacturers of selling e-cigarettes on Wednesday.

Matt Hutsell, local co-owner of WC Vapor in Salem, says his shop's goal is to provide a less harmful alternative to cigarettes and he will continue to comply with all FDA regulations. 

“We as a company focus on mature marketing and we are not in the business to sell to kids. And as far as the liquids we carry, we do not pick up brands that have the potential to appeal to children, because we have that responsibility,” said Hutsell. 

Hutsell says that he lost his mother to lung cancer after she smoked for over 30 years and that he wishes vaping was available for her back then. 

“The reason why we are in this business is for harm reduction because we have seen so many that have smoked for years,” Hutsell said.

Dr. Russell Delaney, a pediatrician of LewisGale, tells 10 News he has had several patients admit to trying and consistently using vaping devices. 

He says parents tend to be unaware of the use because there are no immediate side effects but that doesn't mean there aren't any long term effects.

“There is just a lot we don't know. These products are new and there are other chemicals in the electronic products you are inhaling and putting in your lungs and with these products there are concerns that it could damage your DNA, may lead to respiratory cancers after using these products for years and years,” Delaney said. 

Both Dr. Delaney and Hutsell encourage parents with questions on vaping to reach out to them for further education on vaping. 

And to help prevent the next child from using the product.

“I don't think it’s ever too late. I think education is the answer to fixing the problem, just like how we have educated young people about alcohol and other tobacco products over the years,” Delaney said.

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