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Romney calls vaping a 'health crisis'; shops say his fix is wrong prescription

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Sen. Mitt Romney said vaping has exploded among kids, and is a “health care crisis," but the Utah vaping industry cast Romney’s proposed fix as the wrong prescription. (Photo: KUTV FILE)

Sen. Mitt Romney said vaping has exploded among kids, and is a “health care crisis," but the Utah vaping industry cast Romney’s proposed fix as the wrong prescription.

Thursday, Romney held a round table discussion on vaping with medical professionals and two state lawmakers at Primary Children’s Hospital, noting “the expansion of tobacco products among our young people,“ and that “so many are getting ill.“

The session came one day after it was revealed a person in Utah died from a vaping related illness, the first in the state.

Romney spoke of his proposed "ENND Act," a measure that would ban “refillable” vaping cartridges, so they could not be laced with “adulterated” products including THC, and ban flavored nicotine.

“So get rid of the flavored products, the bubblegum flavors and so forth,“ he said. “They’re addicting our kids.“

But Beau Maxon, a vape store owner in Park City, and a member of the Utah Vapor Business Association, called the Romney plan “irresponsible.”

Since vaping deaths and illnesses have grown across the country, the industry has insisted “black market THC” is the reason not flavored nicotine. Further, the vape stores say they’re diligent in stopping minors from buying products.

Romney acknowledged 90% of vaping illnesses may be linked to THC, but Maxon questioned whether the senator is adequately informed, and said the industry would like to have a meeting with him.

Further, Maxon termed the Romney bill “government overreach,” and said it’s “intolerable.”

Dr. Dixie Harris, an Intermountain Healthcare pulmonologist, said dozens of people who became sick from vaping have been seen at two hospitals and a tele-medicine program.

“We have over 60 who have been involved in our ICU, critical care system,“ she said. “We have not lost one yet, but you know, it makes you very nervous.“

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