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Surrounded by students at Ridgewood High School, Menendez unveiled a five-point plan he wants federal officials to act on now.
“This vaping problem didn’t start overnight and it will not disappear tomorrow,” he said.
Menendez wants the FDA to impose a moratorium on sales and use of all vaping products, CBS2’s Alice Gainer reports.
“It’s a reasonable business approach to say let’s see what works and what doesn’t. Let’s see what’s really harming individuals and whether any of these products, any of them at all, can be accepted in the public health domain,” he said.
In the past 90 days, six people have died and more than 380 people nationwide have been hospitalized — all linked to vaping.
Menendez also wants a crackdown on deceptive marketing targeting teens.
One Ridgewood sophomore said he doesn’t vape, but he’s seen all the products.
“Mango, root beer float, strawberry cheesecake and even sour double rainbow,” he said. “With flavors like these, you can’t argue that vapes aren’t marketed towards teens.”
Menendez wants to close the online loophole that allows underage individuals to purchase products.
He wants to dedicate $500 million to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study the impact of e-cigarettes on young people and to tax vaping products the same as traditional tobacco products, a financial deterrent.
Parents say this has become yet another thing in a long list of temptations they need to talk to their kids about.
“I would say probably when they were in middle school is when I started to realize vaping was a thing,” parent Jeanne Theisen said.
Those who sell flavored e-cigarettes say any kind of ban would destroy their business with some believing the spike in illnesses is due to black market products.
The CDC has enacted its emergency operations center to investigate further.