A group of U.S. Representatives on Thursday announced the formation of a bipartisan congressional caucus to confront the growing epidemic of youth vaping lead by Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill. and Rep. Peter King, R-NY.

juul dc trip 2019 U.S. Reps announce End The Youth Vaping Epidemic caucus
Supporting the formation of a bipartisan congressional caucus to end youth vaping were, from left, Beasley Allen lawyers Joseph VanZandt and Sydney Everett; Rep. Peter King, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi; Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein Partner Wendy Fleishman, and Lieff Cabraser Case Clerk Isaac Lunt.

The End Youth Vaping Epidemic caucus will serve as a “forum in Congress to discuss needed solutions to better protect American youth from the dangers of vaping and nicotine addiction,” according to Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., one of the leading members.

“As Members of Congress, it is our responsibility to preserve the health and safety of our constituents, and particularly that of our youth. This caucus will serve as a forum in Congress to discuss needed solutions to better protect American youth from the dangers of vaping and nicotine addiction,” a statement from Reps. Krishnamoorthi and King. “As Members of Congress, it is our responsibility to preserve the health and safety of our constituents, and particularly that of our youth. This caucus will serve as a forum in Congress to discuss needed solutions to better protect American youth from the dangers of vaping and nicotine addiction,” the statement continued.

Beasley Allen lawyers Joseph VanZandt and Sydney Everett, who are representing clients throughout the country who have been affected by JUUL, attended the announcement of the caucus on Capitol Hill and met with Rep. Krishnamoorthi and Rep. Peter King to discuss the strategies to combat the vaping epidemic. They were joined by clients who have experienced first-hand the destructive consequences JUUL products have had on their health and their lives.

Efforts to combat the vaping epidemic have taken on a special urgency in recent weeks. On Tuesday, news broke that an outbreak of severe lung illnesses linked to the use of vape products claimed a seventh life, that of a 40-year old California man. Other deaths have occurred in Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota and Oregon.

So far, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed 380 cases of the mysterious vape-related illnesses. That number is a revised total from the 450 cases reported the previous week, the CDC said.

Every year since 2015 – the year JUUL made its debut on the vape market – vaping among kids, teens, and young adults has soared to alarming levels. Last year, vaping among middle schoolers increased by 50% while the number of high schoolers vaping grew 80%. Preliminary data shows that this trend has continued through 2019. Currently, nearly a third of high schoolers vape. Among middle school kids, the vaping rate is more than one in 20.

Last week, the Trump administration said that the nation’s top health officials were preparing legislation that would “clear the market” of all flavored vape products that JUUL and other manufacturers have used to attract minors. The one exception would be tobacco-flavored vape products, which adults could still use to help them quit smoking.

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