Conn. Public Health Commissioner to Testify About E-Cigarettes on Capitol Hill

The nationwide epidemic on vaping-related illnesses shows no signs of slowing down.

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are set to hear testimony from a number of people on Wednesday including Connecticut's own Public Health Commissioner on how to handle this ongoing health threat.

So far, 31 cases of vaping-related lung illnesses have been reported here in Connecticut since the middle of August. Two dozen people have died across the country including one in the state.

Commissioner Renee Coleman-Mitchell will testify before the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee about the public health threat of vaping. She's the only state-level public health official to testify along with The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the commissioner's testimony on Wednesday, Coleman-Mitchell plans to push for education beginning in first grade through college about the risk of vaping.

"Addiction is threatening the future of our youth," she said. She's encouraging committee members to consider funding a joint federal and state response for dealing with the epidemic.

There's also been a push across the country and Connecticut to ban flavors and try and discourage teens from vaping.

State Senator Mary Abrams spoke with NBC Connecticut earlier this month and talked about how she thinks lawmakers can do more.

"We want to look at where vaping products are being sold. They seem to be readily available and we have to look at that issue. They're even online and how to keep them out of the hands of kids," she said.

Now that we're approaching flu season, doctors are warning people to be especially careful. Fever, chest pains, trouble breathing, coughing and vomiting are some of the symptoms you could experience with a vaping-related lung illness.

The CDC said the latest findings suggest products containing THC, particularly those obtained off the street, are linked to most of the cases, but some patients have reported exclusively using nicotine products.

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