Healthy Kids: Growing vaping concerns spark continued legislation efforts in Colorado
COLORADO SPRINGS. Colo. (KRDO) -- Selling flavored tobacco and nicotine products could soon be illegal in Colorado if lawmakers approve a new bill that would prohibit their sale in the state. This push comes from the dangers associated with kids and teens using vapes and e-cigarettes.
Health officials say vaping is something that more and more children seem to be doing, which is raising concerns about long-term health issues. Most e-cigs contain nicotine, which is highly addictive and can harm adolescent brain development which continues into the early to mid-20s.
"What we have here is concerning," says Dr. Heather De Keyser, a pediatric pulmonologist at Children's Hospital Colorado.
Dr. De Keyser says youth vaping is an ongoing issue.
"Anytime you are inhaling chemicals into your lungs and the nicotine the chemicals involved in the vape smoke itself you can get inflammation, have changes in the way the lungs or heart function and some of that can be rapid changes, says Dr. De Keyser. "We've seen kids come into the hospital with severe lung disease immediately, but we've also had some concerns that this may lead to long-term changes."
She added some of the long-term changes can be harmful.
"Adolescent brains are so prime for addiction, says Dr. De Keyser. "It is this developmental time when addiction can take hold. Not only can it make you more likely to get addicted to the nicotine, you may likely get more addicted to other drugs down the road too."
Now, some Colorado lawmakers are working to restrict the sale of certain products. If passed, House Bill 22-1064 would ban the sale of all flavored tobacco and nicotine products starting July 1st. It includes vapes, e-cigarettes, menthol cigarettes, hookah, chewing tobacco, and cigars.
"One of the big things that is coming up now is the ban on flavored vape products which I think is really huge because that is something that has really targeted the teenage population," says Dr. De Keyser.
Dr. De Keyser thinks it's easier to keep these products at a distance if parents start talking to their kids about the dangers at a young age.
"Kids may be able to find ways to get around some of these laws and regulations so that's why the involvement of the parents and family is so key in kind of helping to prevent your particular child from picking up the product," says Dr. De Keyser.
A nationwide ban on many flavored e-cig products went into effect two years ago by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. According to experts, teens still had access to nicotine vapes.
However, the loophole that vaping companies were using to circumvent regulators to keep their products on shelves closed last week. Allowing the FDA to go after several products being marketed illegally and in a variety of flavors.