SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Morgan Capaldi, a sophomore at Georgia Southern University – Armstrong has a warning for her peers who vape.
“If you’re going to do it, you need to know the repercussions of your actions,” Capaldi said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are reporting that, across the country, roughly 400 people have fallen ill due to vaping-related illnesses.
Of those, the Georgia Department of Health tells News 3 that three confirmed, and ten potential cases are in Georgia.
News 3 Digital Reporter Jon Dowding spoke with college students at Georgia Southern University – Armstrong to learn more about what concerns they have about vaping.
What does Georgia law say about vaping?
Georgia law prohibits the sale of tobacco related products to any minor. Anyone under the age of 18 cannot buy, possess or use any tobacco or nicotine related product as well.
The Clean Indoor Air Act of Georgia has not been amended to prohibit vaping indoors. The City of Savannah as well as Chatham County also prohibits vaping where smoking is prohibited.
Aside from these ordinances, there are no other specific laws regarding vaping or e-cigarette usage or distribution.
How does it get started?
“If you had an older friend, it was easy,” Capaldi said. “You would go to the convenience store, give them money and you’d get the little Juul min-pack.”
A former e-cigarette user, Capaldi said she started using them at 16 years old. She stopped two years later when she saw the negative effect vapes had on her friends.
“One of my friends would always get headaches whenever she couldn’t use them,” Capaldi said.
Capaldi was recently diagnosed with bad asthma, which she attributes to her vaping usage.
Oscar Romero, a freshman at GS- Armstrong says he and his friends would vape in social situations, at parties or just while hanging out.
He stopped vaping after seeing a story on Twitter where a man got surgery for a collapsed lung, but it was not as easy for his peers.
“I have friends that are actually addicted,” said Romero. “They have to step out of rooms to vape in secret.”
What are the symptoms and next steps?
Officials from the CDC say the cause of the recent outbreak is unknown, but they believe it is related to an unknown chemical exposure through e-cigarette usage.
21-year-old Blue Smith is a member of Ware County Fire and Rescue. He has been trained and responded to calls of his peers who suffer from complications of vaping related illnesses.
“It destroys the lung tissue from the inside out and creates a film, that’s like a sticky-like glue, that will collapse the lungs, ” Smith said.
The only recommendation from the CDC is to not vape or use e-cigarettes and for current e-cigarette users to not switch to regular cigarettes.