TAMPA, Fla (WFLA)- Vaping rates are the highest they’ve ever been in Florida and another hospitalized teenager is warning people just how dangerous the smoking alternative can be.
Madison Massey is just one of more than 450 possible cases of e-cigarette-related severe lung injury in 33 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
In June, the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine published a study on vapinglinking the use of electronic cigarettes and the risk of development of mycobacteria-related lung infections.
In Florida alone, data from the Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida shows 16.1 percent of adults smoked cigarettes in 2017. Meanwhile, 4.3 percent of adults used e-cigarettes.
For teenagers, the number jumps significantly, with nearly 25 percent of Florida high school students reported they used vaping devices in 2018.
That’s a 58 percent increase compared to 2017.
E-cigarette and cigarette use in Florida
Below are the percentages of cigarette and e-cigarette users among Florida’s adult population in 2017. Hover over the bar to see the exact percentage number.Source: Truth Initiative
Nationwide, at least 475 other cities and 18 states also have raised the age for buying e-cigarettes to 21, the same threshold for buying beer or liquor.
Last week, Florida Rep. Jackie Toledo (R-Tampa) joined Hillsborough County school board members at Tampa General Hospital on Thursday to discuss adding Florida to that list.
Earlier this summer, new legislation went into effect as an extension of the Florida Clean Indoor Air Act— originally made in 1985 to protect indoor air from effects of cigarettes.
This year’s vaping ban extended the law’s language to bans smoking in indoor workplaces to include vaping products.
Last week, the Food and Drug Administration sent a warning letter to Juul, the largest distributors of electronic cigarettes in the United States, accusing it of advertising nicotine pads used in e-cigarettes as less harmful than cigarettes.
Juul, which Marlboro cigarette maker Altria owns 35 percent of, accounted for 76 percent of the electronic cigarette market in 2018.
“Really the safest thing is probably to avoid vaping and if it is what you are using as a nicotine replacement rather than smoking cigarettes, my recommendation is to look at other nicotine replacement strategies such as gum, patches, etc.,” Dr. David Wein said.