Vaping has long been known as a way for people to leave smoking behind, as electronic cigarette products are often considered a healthier and safer alternative to traditional smoking.

E-cigarettes work by vaporizing a liquid mixture of nicotine, flavorings and other chemicals. Because the vapor inhaled simulates the sensation of smoking, vaping has become a common alternative for many former cigarette smokers.

However, in recent weeks, the number of vaping-related illnesses and deaths has drastically climbed, and many states have taken action to combat what they say could be a significant health problem.

As of Oct. 3, there have been 1,080 confirmed cases of lung injury reported in 48 states and one U.S. territory and 18 deaths in 15 states related to vaping and e-cigarette products, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In mid-September, New York became the first state to actually impose a statewide ban on most flavored nicotine vaping products, just days after the governor called for emergency action. Massachusetts, Rhode Island and California have been among states taking action by declaring public health emergencies or calling on state agencies to develop recommendations for limiting the sales of vaping products.

Still, others say that it’s too early to jump to conclusions on how vaping affects an individual’s health. Some people claim the recent illnesses are caused by products not used in legitimate vaping and e-cigarette products and say, regardless, traditional smoking is undoubtedly more harmful.

Pro: Recent illnesses related to vaping reported in Texas, across US
Con: Illnesses related to vaping often connected to illegal products

Morgan Theophil covers local government for the Victoria Advocate. She can be reached at 361-580-6511, mtheophil@vicad.com or on Twitter.

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