Confiscated vape pens

Many vaping devices look almost identical to USB memory sticks, making them sometimes difficult to identify by teachers and parents.

Wyoming Republican Sen. Mike Enzi is lending his voice to the push to reduce youth vaping, following a statement from Gov. Mark Gordon that people should avoid vaping any THC products.

In a press release sent Wednesday, Enzi said he wants to ensure the Food and Drug Administration is doing everything it is supposed to do to limit youth vaping and tobacco use.

Wyoming’s senior U.S. senator made his comments during the Senate Health Committee’s hearing on the recent spate of vaping-related illnesses.

In the release, he “applauded the FDA for recently issuing a modified proposal to include large, color graphic warning labels on tobacco products.”

“I think these warnings would be a good way to get people to stop smoking or vaping — or to never start,” Enzi said.

As of Wednesday, 2,172 cases of vaping-related lung injury had been reported in 49 states (every one except Alaska). Forty-two people have died because of the injuries, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Government agencies and public health experts have not identified a cause. However, the CDC reported that vitamin E acetate, a common additive in THC vaping products, had been found in fluid samples collected from the lungs of 29 patients with the injuries from 10 states.

Enzi is concerned about rates of tobacco and vape use in Wyoming that are higher than national averages. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids found, for example, that 29.6% of Wyoming high school students use e-cigarettes, compared with a 27.5% national rate.

In the Health Committee hearing, Enzi also urged the FDA to report to Congress every two years on the Tobacco Control Act, something he has previously pushed for in legislation. However, it is not currently mandated, and the agency has reported on the bill just once to Congress, in 2013.

Contact Tom Hallberg at 732-7079 or thallberg@jhnewsandguide.com.

Tom Hallberg covers a little bit of everything, from skiing to long-form feature stories. A Teton Valley, Idaho, transplant by way of Portland and Bend, Oregon, he spends his time outside work writing fiction, splitboarding and climbing.

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