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Editorial: Consumers need science in e-cig cloud

“Everybody’s vaping. They’re all vaping. And they all think it’s safe.”

– Kim Barnes, whose son has heart and lung damage doctors say is from vaping

It was pitched to consumers as a healthier alternative to those nasty, stinky, cancer-causing cigarettes. And many consumers clearly bought it – there are now around 260 brands and 7,700 different flavors when it comes to vaping.

And there are as many as 50 people in at least six states dealing with serious breathing illnesses that may be linked to e-cigarettes or other vaping products, many which contain nicotine.

Is there any question the market got out in front of science?

In New Mexico, the state now makes money on these products – a 12.5% tax on the liquid used in e-cigarettes kicked in last month.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states “tobacco use among youth and young adults in any form, including e-cigarettes, is not safe.” The FDA and Department of Health and Human Services are finally working to reveal the truth behind those dense clouds of fragrant vapor that waft out of car windows at a red light or trail a group of kids along a sidewalk.

It’s too late for Kim Barne’s 26-year-old son, who spent days on a ventilator and came close to death. But lawmakers and regulators need to clear the haze of popularity and finally get science and warnings to consumers.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.

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