DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Public health officials in the Miami Valley say they’re pleased to see the Ohio Department of Health taking action to discourage people from vaping as the number of hospitalizations due to respiratory illness continues to rise.
According to the Department of Health, 10 hospitalizations for respiratory illness likely linked to vaping have been reported in Ohio. All of those patients are between 16 and 26 years old, according to officials.
Kansas reported the nation’s sixth death Tuesday of a vaping-related respiratory illness.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 450 possible cases of severe respiratory illness linked to vaping have been reported.
As the number of people hospitalized for vaping-related illnesses continues to rise, several parents told 2 NEWS they’re concerned. Jenny McGuire of Harrison Township said her 17-year-old daughter has chosen not to use e-cigarettes, but some of her friends have.
“I think they need to get the word out more about it and how dangerous it can be, esepcially now hearing about people going in the hospital for it,” McGuire said.
Ohio’s 10 hospitalizations have been reported in eight counties. Although no cases have been confirmed in the Miami Valley so far, health officials announced they are investigating 14 other illness reports in Ohio for a possible link to vaping.
“These new respiratory illnesses are definitely serious,” said Dan Suffoletto of Public Health – Dayton and Montgomery County.
Suffoletto said he’s glad to see the Ohio Department of Health taking new action.
The state Department of Health’s new initiatives announced Tuesday include investing roughly $3.3 million to create educational resources for community organizations about the risks of vaping and ways they can lessen vaping locally.
The Department of Health also plans to spend $800,000 on public education campaigns targeting kids and parents, officials said.
State officials are also sending a letter to Ohio school districts encouraging them to ban the use of vaping products and providing resources on ways to quit using e-cigarettes, according to the Ohio Department of Health.
“Definitely if you’re a parent of teens, you want to talk to them about the dangers of vaping,” Suffoletto said. “There’s certainly a lot of information out there right now.”
According to state officials, starting October 17, the legal age to purchase tobacco and vaping products in Ohio rises to 21.