‘Fighting The Teen Vaping Epidemic’: Chicago Event Sparks Debate

Roughly 27% of high school students report using e-cigarettes or vaping—a number that is way too high for U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi.

“Today Juuls in the U.S. have three times the amount of nicotine compared to those sold by Juul even three years ago,” he said at an event Monday known as “Fighting the Teen Vaping Epidemic” that’s held by the City Club of Chicago.

At the event, Rep. Krishnamoorthi introduced new federal legislation that would cap the nicotine allowed in e-cigarettes. Some e-cigarettes currently contain as much as 59 milligrams per milliliter. The cap would limit it to 20 milligrams, and under Rep. Krishnamoorthi, a similar cap implemented in the European Union, the United Kingdom and Israel has led to stagnating youth vaping levels.

“This nicotine cap has had a direct impact in deterring youth vaping,” said Rep. Krishnamoorthi.

Dr. Maria Rahmandar, the Medical Director of the Substance Use & Prevention Program at Lurie Chidren’s Hospital said she appreciates the attempt to take action, however she believes that a nicotine cap may not be the answer.

“Just because you cap it at a certain level, (it) doesn’t mean that the products that have a level less than that are safe, because like we said, there’s lots of other things in them besides nicotine, and we truly don’t know what is a safe level of nicotine for a vulnerable, developing brain.”

Dr. Rahmandar recommends eliminating flavored e-cigarettes and restricting marketing to youth to protect kids from the dangers of vaping.

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