Lawmakers press the vaping industry amid illness outbreak

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Lawmakers are upping the pressure on the FDA and the vaping industry amid an outbreak of vaping related lung diseases. In two House Committee meetings this week, Congress-members discussed ways to halt the public threat of e-cigarettes.

Meredith Berkman, a mother and founder of Parents Against Vaping E-Cigarettes, testifies before a House Committee Hearing, Thursday. (Source: Gray DC)

With each puff, experts say more and more people fall victim to a mysterious lung disease that causes chest pain, fatigue, and vomiting.

"They are addicted and they don't even know it," said Meredith Berkman, founder of the National Group Parents Against Vaping E-Cigarettes (PAVE).

Berkman is a mother of four and says she is worried about her children becoming hooked on vaping.

"We all pray that we will find the cause of this lung illness," she said. " But we may not."

Scientists are still learning about the long term effects and lawmakers are searching for data that's not yet available.

"We have more questions than answers," said Rep. Cheri Buston (D-IL) "What do we need to do as the federal government to make sure our children aren’t harmed because of vaping?” 

Last month, President Trump said he plans to ban e-cigarettes altogether, but Boston University Professor Michael Siegel says that could create a "public health disaster."

Siegel says 2 million smokers quit successfully thanks to e-cigarettes and officials should balance the needs of smoking adults with need to protect youths from these products.

"If we really think youth are addicted to e-cigs and we need to ban them, then we should be banning cigarettes completely," said Siegel.

The FDA is investigating these illnesses. Right now, they are warning consumers to stop using vaping products containing THC.

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