San Diego County Considers Banning Vaping Products
Speaker 1: 00:00 There have been a dozen deaths and more than 800 cases of respiratory illness connected to vaping across the country in reaction to San Diego County. Supervisors are bringing a proposal to the full County board later this month. Here's supervisor Nathan Fletcher Speaker 2: 00:16 as a County. Uh, we are leading in San Diego and calling for a ban on flavored products that target our children and a moratorium on the untested vaping devices. Until such time as the public health risks have been properly assessed. Speaker 1: 00:30 Well, there have been no deaths associated with vaping in the County. There have been numerous people hospitalized, a point of concern for dr Wilma Wooten, San Diego counties, public health officer, Dr. Wooten. Welcome. Speaker 3: 00:43 Thank you for having me. Speaker 1: 00:44 Can you give us an overview of the 22 cases in the County Speaker 3: 00:48 in San Diego? As you've stated, we've had 22 confirmed and probable, uh, vaping associated pulmonary injury cases and the ages range from 17 to 70 years of age with a median age of 35 years of age. 55% of the cases have been male. All of the cases have been hospitalized, uh, as well. But we have had no deaths. Uh, thankfully in San Diego. Speaker 1: 01:17 What are some of the common symptoms they're experiencing? Speaker 3: 01:20 Well, the symptoms, uh, nationwide and locally are respiratory or cardiac symptoms in terms of chest pain or difficulty breathing. There is a GI symptoms including diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, as well as general symptoms of fatigue, fever and weight loss. So those are the common symptoms that have been associated with this condition. Speaker 1: 01:46 And given that we're seeing these cases here in San Diego County, what was your initial reaction to the proposed ban? A when supervisors, Diane, Jacob and Nathan Fletcher brought it to your attention? Speaker 3: 01:56 Well, this is until we know more, it is the appropriate action to take. We have some bits and pieces that are coming in, but until CDC has elucidated what is actually causing these conditions, I the most prudent thing to do is to ask people to stop vaping until we have more information. Speaker 1: 02:19 And while we're, we're still trying to collect information on this, do you have any hesitation on enacting a ban on something where the cause of the illness is not really fully known yet? Speaker 3: 02:29 That's actually an argument that can be made for why we should do this a on a temporary basis until we have more information. Uh, again, while people are not dying in San Diego, we have had, uh, several deaths in California, so other States are ha reporting deaths as well. So it is the prudent thing to do at this point until we have more information and can give the public, uh, more guidance. Speaker 1: 02:57 And are you concerned with banning these devices that can help people quit smoking, which is a habit with known health risks? Speaker 3: 03:04 Well, a vaping has not been proven to help people quit smoking. There is no evidence for its use for that purpose, although anecdotally we do hear that people use it for that purpose, but there is no evidence base, uh, research or studies that shows that it is a smoking cessation tool. Speaker 1: 03:26 Uh, this would only cover devices and flavored tobacco products that are sold legally and it's believed that what's causing the problem is CBD and THC products sold on the black market. Thus, how big of an impact do you think this band would make on preventing illness? Speaker 3: 03:41 Having this temporary band, you can actually go into some locations where you get, uh, what is, uh, uh, products that are, um, responsible products. But then in terms of that, the Carter's device, but in the same location, you might be getting a, um, a substance to use in a device that is actually from the black market. So again, what we're just asking people to do is to stop vaping if they do, to not start, if they don't, and to uh, know where they get their products from. Getting things online, people might think that that's safe, but it might not necessarily be so we don't have all of the answers. So the best thing is to ask people to stop, uh, the action until we have more information to help us give further guidance to the community. Speaker 1: 04:36 And this proposed ban would cover the unincorporated areas of the County. Would you encourage other cities in this, in the County to enact a similar band? Speaker 3: 04:45 That is correct. This is for the unincorporated areas. And there are other cities that are looking at this, uh, action. And we certainly will and would work with those cities to help implement this process. Speaker 1: 05:00 And finally, as the county's public health officer, what advice do you have for our listeners concerning these devices? Speaker 3: 05:07 Well, the major advice is that until more is known about what is causing the cases of severe, uh, pulmonary injury, it's important for people to stop using, uh, the products. I, they might feel that they are getting them from a reliable source for sometimes they, the products may not be coming from a reliable source. It might be a, an underground, um, uh, product. So until we know more, we're asking people to stop vaping. And this is particularly of concern for, uh, youth for young adults and for pregnant women. Speaker 1: 05:42 I've been speaking with dr Wilma boot and San Diego counties, public health officer, Dr. Wooten. Thank you so much. Speaker 3: 05:47 Thank you for having me. Speaker 4: 05:54 [inaudible].