AUSTIN, Texas — Testimony given to State lawmakers on Tuesday showed how recent vaping injuries impact Texas kids.
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) identified 210 confirmed cases of lung injury associated with vaping. Testimony heard in the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services on Tuesday showed minors make up 22% of those injuries.
“I see students walking around campus using e-cigarettes. Some of my dormmates use these products in their rooms, which can set off the fire alarms,” said Kellen Kruk, a student at Texas State University.
Kruk started speaking out against tobacco and vaping four years ago.
“Safer does not mean safe,” Kruk said.
On Tuesday, senators listened to several hours of testimony. Some vape store owners argued that most of the people injured used vapes with THC, the same chemical found in marijuana.
“We keep using vape instead of drug dealer and drugs,” said Justin Suriff, a founding partner of Create A Cig in Austin.
State health records show 90% of the injuries are from people who reported using THC in the vaping device in conjunction with other substances.
Owners like Suriff are pushing for better regulations. Some suggested limiting the products to vape-only shops where minors aren’t allowed.
The Texas “Say What!” campaign is for teens to teach other teenagers about the dangers of tobacco and vaping. Kruk served as an ambassador for the program in 2017.
The KVUE Defenders' special report last week showed State money is available to police departments who will try to catch a store employee selling to a minor. Currently, only three departments in Central Texas have agreed to do that.
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