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Lawmakers must weigh solutions on vaping issue

Last week, the Minnesota Department of Health reported two more Minnesotans died in September as a result of vaping-related injuries. This brings the number of vaping related deaths in the state to three.

To date, according to the department, Minnesota has 73 patients classified as confirmed or probable cases of severe lung injury associated with vaping. The department is reviewing an additional 32 people to see if they meet the case criteria.

The deaths involve people older than 50, some with underlying condition, some of whom had been vaping illegal THC (the intoxicant part of marijuana). But there should be concern about the rise in vaping among young people too. Schools have been dealing with the increase in vaping among students, and the ability to make vaping devices disguised as ordinary objects like pens or flash drives that students would normally carry.

We hope students realize there are risks involved with vaping. Inhaling chemicals into your lungs is just not a good idea.

Gov. Tim Walz is considering some policy measures his administration and the Legislature can implement to combat the risks of vaping, such as raising the statewide smoking age to 21; prohibiting the internet sale of tobacco products, e-cigarettes and vaping products; and prohibiting the sale of flavored nicotine and tobacco products. These are proposals that should be seriously considered in the face of this public health problem.

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