Teen vaping sparks concerns among Santa Clarita parents amid outbreak of respiratory-related deaths

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (KABC) -- Following announcement of the Trump administration's plan to ban flavored e-cigarettes in response to an outbreak of vaping-related deaths, a community meeting was held Wednesday in Santa Clarita for parents and teenagers.

A survey showed that more than 58% of students in the Hart Union High School District reported seeing someone vaping on campus in the month before the study.

"You go in the bathroom and everybody is doing it, and you're kind of tempted to do it," one student said at the meeting.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting six deaths and more than 450 illnesses across the U.S. that are believed to be linked to e-cigarettes or vaping.

The American Lung Association issued a warning, stating in part, "E-cigarettes are not safe and can cause irreversible lung damage and lung disease."

Teens and young adults are especially at risk.

Texas A&M student Hunter Sims said the new flavors tempted him to continue vaping before he ended up in an intensive care unit.

"It's horrible for you, and I came very close to death, and I'm lucky," he said.

The American Vaping Association released the following statement:

"A flavor ban will only lead to the creation of yet another multibillion-dollar black market that will operate with zero safety controls."

Bob Sharits, program director of The Way Out Recovery, said he would not recommend anyone vape - especially young people, given the growing number of those suffering from respiratory-related illnesses after vaping.

"Nobody can say without a shadow of a doubt what's causing these illnesses," he said. "There's a lot of research being done, people are looking into it. But the bottom line is this, is that whatever is causing it is being delivered via vaping products. So, if you're not vaping, then that's not going to happen to you."
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