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Youth Vaping: Minimum Age Tobacco Laws Address Teen Smoking Epidemic

Youth Vaping: Minimum Age Tobacco Laws Address Teen Smoking Epidemic

The news was tragic. Dallas County Health and Human Services reported the death of a Texas teenager. The 15-year-old was the youngest victim to die from vaping-related lung injury.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the grim milestone is among 2,602 lung injury cases that required hospitalization and 59 deaths linked to vaping. Although deaths seem to be slowing, states are still reporting new fatalities every week, and more deaths are being investigated.

Vaping involves inhaling and exhaling an aerosol, often referred to as vapor, which is produced by an e-cigarette or similar device. The fine particles within the vapor are often extracted from tobacco and contain varying amounts of toxic chemicals, which have been linked to cancer, as well as respiratory and heart disease.

Congress passed a law last year raising the federal minimum age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21. But states are passing their own laws because enforcement is usually done on the local and state level.