Illinois lawmakers to consider flavored vaping ban

Andy Ramkumar, who works at Gotham Vape in Queens, vapes at the store on September 17, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

CHICAGO — Illinois lawmakers this fall will consider banning most flavored vaping products, following recent restrictions that some other states have enacted amid concerns about the safety of vaping and its allure to young people.

The legislation sponsored by Democratic state Rep. Deb Conroy, a Villa Park Democrat, would bar all vaping flavors except menthol, The Chicago Tribune reported.

“It’s become a health crisis,” Conroy said. “People are dying.”

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he supports banning flavored vaping products, which critics contend are marketed at children.

“There is much more research needed to understand the short and long-term health effects of using e-cigarette products,” Pritzker said in the statement, urging the public to stop usage of e-cigarettes.

New York and Michigan have already approved bans on flavored products due to growing safety concerns.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced that over 500 people throughout the country had been diagnosed with vaping-related breathing illnesses, though the cause remains unknown. Eight deaths have been reported, including one in Illinois. Doctors say the illnesses resemble an inhalation injury. No single vaping product or ingredient has yet been linked to the illnesses, but most patients reported vaping THC, the compound that gives marijuana its high.

In Illinois, a committee hearing on vaping is planned for Monday in Chicago. Young students who have studied the issue are expected to testify.

Illinois lawmakers’ fall session starts late next month.

Legislators could also take up related proposals.

Republican state Rep. Grant Wehrli of Naperville wants exceptions on the flavored vaping ban for mint, wintergreen and menthol flavors. He said he doesn’t think they are as “egregious” as other flavors. Another plan sponsored by state Sen. Terry Link, a Vernon Hills Democrat, proposes extending the state’s indoor smoking ban to include e-cigarettes.

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