U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn called for the end of flavored vaping products Tuesday afternoon amid continued reports of vaping-related illnesses across the country. As of Oct. 22, 34 people have died due to vaping-related illnesses, with two of those cases coming from Tennessee.
Speaking with representatives and parents about the concerns of vaping over the past few weeks, Blackburn told reporters during a conference call that her colleagues in the Senate were currently looking into the issue, and that they may conclude that vaping manufacturers be 'held accountable,' particularly for their alleged marketing towards adolescents and teenagers.
"The deaths are absolutely tragic, and the way that vaping has been marketed specifically to young people and children... ending these flavored vapes is something that does need to be done," Blackburn said. "I do know that the Health Subcommittee in the House and the Health Committee in the Senate are each looking at hearings on this issue and beginning to do some work on it to hold some of these manufacturers accountable who are doing the candy flavoring and marketing to teenagers. This is something that needs to end right now."
Seven states have already implemented some form of vaping ban, with New York the first to do so, banning all flavored nicotine products except tobacco and menthol. Massachusetts currently has the strongest state-wide ban, who on Sept. 18, banned the sale of all nicotine vape products, flavored or otherwise. While popular vaping product manufacturers like Juul have voluntarily stopped the sale of most flavored vape products, a large swath of flavored vape products still flood the market.
While studies on the long term effects of vaping are still inconclusive, a large percentage of those who have died due to a vaping-related illness were found to be using THC-based vaping products — as much as 84 percent by some accounts.
The Food and Drug Administration has strongly warned consumers to not use vaping products containing THC, or vaping products from second-hand markets.