Gov. Brown Seats Work Group to Address Youth Vaping ‘Epidemic’

Governor Kate Brown has announced the membership of the Vaping Public Health Work Group, assembled to address what she described as the “epidemic of vaping-related illness and youth vaping in Oregon.” The work group will meet on Jan. 28 in the State Capitol.

Its membership includes state legislators, state agency representatives, pulmonologists, pediatricians and public health experts. They will meet to discuss the health risks of vaping and make public policy recommendations for long-term solutions to address the vaping epidemic.

Among the health experts on the panel is Dr. Brian Druker of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, a pioneer in the field of precision medicine whose research has helped to revolutionize cancer treatment. Dr. Mary McKenzie, the Director of Pulmonology at Legacy Health, will also bring her direct experience working with patients with vaping-related lung injuries to the work group.

“I am confident that this group of talented health care leaders will bring forward innovative ideas to help keep Oregonians safe from the risks of vaping-related illnesses. I would like to thank Oregon’s health care community and state and local health agencies for their efforts to respond to the vaping public health crisis of the late summer and fall,” said Gov. Brown. “While the number of new vaping-related illness cases has tapered since states acted to restrict certain vaping products and additives, we have been left to grapple with the sobering reality that youth use of vaping products has skyrocketed in recent years.

“The simple truth is, after years of lax federal regulation, we have no way to ensure the safety of many vaping products on the market. This summer’s vaping crisis was a nationwide wake-up call that we need to do more to ensure our children’s health and safety. I look forward to seeing the results of these experts’ collaboration.”

According to the Oregon Health Authority, youth e-cigarette use jumped 80 percent between 2017 and 2019.

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