Vaping: A growing epidemic with very little regulation

Oct 9, 2019, 7:44 AM | Updated: Oct 16, 2019, 12:51 pm

The Washington State Board of Health is expected to act Wednesday on Governor Inslee’s executive order to ban flavored vaping products.

“Look, when you addict a 12 year old kid to nicotine, you’re just wrong,” Inslee said.

Like many in the industry, Zach McLain who operates Future Vapor in Seattle insists he only sells e-cigarette products to adults, many of whom are trying to stop smoking.

Pierce County Army vet battles vaping illness as outbreak continues

“And we’ve got to remember, 1,300 Americans die every day from smoking. That’s going to happen today, that’s going to happen tomorrow. It’s going to happen for the rest of the year.”

There’s limited proof vaping helps smokers quit, however, and the Food and Drug Administration has not approved it as a smoking cessation tool.

And although the FDA says it does have the right to regulate e-cigarettes, little has been done, according to King County Health Department Doctor Jeff Duchin.

“They haven’t really exercised any meaningful oversight over the manufacture or safety of these products, right now,” Duchin said. “Really, no one knows what they’re getting when they buy one of these products, whether it be a device, or a solution, or a flavoring.”

As for products that list FDA-approved chemicals or additives, he says that only means they’re safe to eat or drink.

“When you put them in one of these devices they become heated up and they form new chemicals, and we have no clue about how safe they may be.”

While the federal government has been largely hands off, Washington state does regulate the sale and purchase of e-cigarettes.

Starting in January 2020, only adults 21 and over will be able to buy e-cigarettes or traditional tobacco products.

There are slightly tighter state controls on cannabis products which list content, and are tested and tracked.

Chairman and CEO John Gorst says Ionic Brands goes further.

“We have actual scientists that are on staff that are working on these different formulations of our products to ensure that they’re compliant and that they’re as safe as possible,” Gorst said.

Vaping habits can impact teens’ brain development, and it’s easy to hide

But in this relatively young industry there are questions about how safe vaping anything is.

And as the state moves to tighten regulations, people in the industry worry that will simply push customers to the completely unregulated black market and force legitimate vape shops out of business.

“You want someone that believes in these products. You want someone that has their heart in it and has never been interested in selling these products to children,” McLain said.

Local News

Sam Campbell

At least one dead at Kent motel shooting ovenight

Police say they responded to the scene of a motel in Kent at 10:30 p.m. last night to reports of multiple people shot.
8 hours ago
Raymond Azevedo Seattle defund police...
Lisa Brooks

Tacoma Police report increase in stolen guns out of vehicles

Tacoma Police say a lot of stolen guns are making their way onto the street - and many of them come from parked cars and trucks.
8 hours ago
Jake Chapman, KIRO 7 News

Seattle Fire Department responding to historic number of overdose calls

The Seattle Fire Department has responded to a historic number of overdose calls in recent memory.
8 hours ago
FILE - Signage outside PayPal headquarters in San Jose, Calif., is pictured on March 10, 2015. PayP...
Associated Press

PayPal to cut 2,000 jobs in latest tech company cost-cutting

PayPal said Tuesday it will trim about 7% of its total workforce, or about 2,000 full-time workers
8 hours ago
Kathryn Stone

Oregon kidnapping suspect dead after being taken into custody

Law enforcement officials were able to determine that Foster had been accessing dating applications on his phone.
8 hours ago
Seattle likes Taylor Swift songs...
Theresa Robinson, KIRO 7 News

State lawmakers considering ‘TSWIFT Consumer Protection Act’ concerning ticket sales

Following the Ticketmaster meltdown during the presale for Taylor Swift’s ‘Eras’ tour late last year, Washington state lawmakers are considering a new bill
8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Vaping: A growing epidemic with very little regulation