RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Concerns and questions continue to grow over vaping safety as doctors work to solve an outbreak of lung illnesses and deaths.
Lawmakers have rushed to restrict the use of vaping products in the name of public safety.
And one of the most alarming concerns - is teen use.
But experts with the Virginia Poison Center are also worried about young children and their potential exposure to vaping products. They are on the front lines of emergencies. And right now, vaping is a big one.
“The concern is that know one knows the cause of those injuries and those deaths," said Dr. Ruddy Rose, Director of the Virginia Poison Center at VCU Medical Center. There’s still not a lot of research on long term or short term use.
The CDC has a whole webpage about it- including what they don’t know. On that list, no known cause or commonalities between the cases.
“People that are dying are young and previously healthy,” said Rose.
There are plenty of stories of schools taking doors off of bathrooms because of concerns about vaping.
And Dr. Rose says our area is no exception to the concern about teens vaping at school.
“Absolutely. We’ve gotten lots of calls about that," said Rose. "And teen vaping is really a crisis much like just a lung injury because of the unknown consequences especially if they’re doing it for a long period of time.”
Some say the devices are small and can be attractive for kids. And because of that, they may even be hard to find.
Dr. Rose says parents really need to have an ongoing conversation with their kids about the dangers of vaping.
“Nobody can tell you if you only vape so much or if you only vape so often then you’re not at risk," said Rose. "Nobody can tell you that.”
And it’s not just teens electing to smoke that has Rose concerned. Vaping products are posing a serious hazard to kids, just by being in the home.
These are examples of real calls the poison control center got in our area:
- “Child picked up a used e-cigarette pod and put it in their mouth. Parents are unsure if the child was exposed to any liquid nicotine.”
- "Caller states that child got into liquid nicotine and is not sure if any was ingested."
- “Caller reports young child was holding the “filter” from an e-cigarette in their hand. Filter is now missing, unsure if the child may have ingested it.”
“If this was a baby crib that came on the market and four children died because they got hung up in that faulty baby crib, that product would go off the market right away,” said Rose.
Here’s what you can do right now: if you vape, don’t do it in front of your kids, and keep your devices in a safe place.
“You keep medicines out of reach, out of sight of children,” said Rose. “You keep cleaning products out of sight, out of reach. I think the same thing should apply to tobacco products.”
Talk, then talk again. Reinforce the dangers, and remind your child regularly what’s at risk.
“Parents need to have a serious heart to heart talk … same thing as drinking and driving that this is something very detrimental to your health. And some people have died from doing it,” said Rose. “Nobody can tell you if you only vape so much or if you only vape so often then you’re not at risk. Nobody can tell you that.”
And if you can stop, stop.
“Stop. Stop. If you don’t’ have symptoms, stop. If you’re not seriously having to vape so you don’t return to cigarettes, stop. Because it’s clearly addictive; it’s clearly addictive.” said Rose.
Copyright 2019 WWBT. All rights reserved.