Rep. Raul Ruiz tells story of local teen critically injured by vaping, fights for legislation to address youth vaping epidemic

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Dr. Raul Ruiz, the Representative from California’s 36th District, visits with 15-year-old Zane Martin at Loma Linda Hospital in Desert Hot Springs as he recovers from a life-threatening illness from vaping. Photo released with the permission of Zane and his mother. Courtesy photo

WASHINGTON – Democrat Rep. Raul Ruiz, M.D., of California spoke Wednesday, Nov. 13, on the nationwide youth vaping epidemic. Recently in Desert Hot Springs, Zane Martin, 15, was hospitalized for over a month with a life-threatening illness from vaping. Ruiz visited Martin in the hospital last week and is working to combat the youth epidemic of vaping through legislation that would require harsher penalties to stores that sell tobacco to underage children, require clear labeling of vaping devices and prohibit devices that are geared toward children, like e-cigarettes designed to look like candy.

“The dangers from vaping are real and can be devastating, especially when companies gear their flavors and devices to teens and make them easily available to our youth across the country,” Ruiz said. “Visiting with Zane, hearing his and his mother’s concerns and speaking with his doctors made it clear we must work urgently to enact policies that educate the public on the dangers of vaping and protect underage teens from vaping and e-cigarette devices.”

Ruiz spoke Wednesday to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health and told Zane’s story as they held a markup of four bills, including House Resolution 2339, the Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act of 2019, which would increase the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21, prohibit flavors in all tobacco products and prohibit online sales of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.

Submitted by the office of Rep. Raul Ruiz.