CHICAGO (WLS) -- Illinois lawmakers heard firsthand from young people Monday about their concerns over vaping and e-cigarettes as they consider legislation to outlaw flavored vape products in the state.
The law would also ban e-cigarette use inside public spaces. The hearing was held in Chicago.
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E-cigarettes have been linked to more than 500 serious illnesses and eight deaths recently, numbers which have gotten the attention of many parents, lawmakers and health officials.
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In the wake of the reports, the focus of many lawmakers is on underage users. Many believe flavored e-cigarettes and vaping products are drawing kids to vaping and it's making them sick.
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"As a parent, anecdotally, it's a problem of certifiable epidemic level," said Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul.
"Many kids don't want to go into the bathrooms because it's going on," said Rep. Terra Costa Howard (D-IL 48th District). "Schools are trying to catch up but it's not happening quickly enough."
Many e-cigarette users, however, said the threat mostly comes from THC and ingredients bought on the underground market. They said vaping is a valuable tool helping end nicotine addiction for millions of smokers.
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"What it's about is keeping these products to help adult smokers quit cigarettes," said Tony Abboud, Vapor Technology Association.
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Illinois vaping ban: Lawmakers consider outlawing flavored vape products, e-cigarettes