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Local doctor: There's no data that shows vaping is safer than smoking regular cigarettes

In midst of the national controversy surrounding e-cigs, Toledo lung expert says youngsters need to be cautious with unknown consequences when it comes to vaping.

The big controversy all around the country is whether vaping is safer than smoking. In Ohio, the health department is investigating six reports of pulmonary illness connected to vaping and is asking healthcare providers to report any new cases. 

The dangers associated with vaping have been seen primarily in teens and young adults, according to officials. 

"People have claimed it is a safer alternative, we know that there isn't any data that claims it's a safer alternative to regular cigarette smoking," said lung doctor from ProMedica, Dr. Bruce Barnett.

The Ohio Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control are calling vaping an epidemic while linking it to serious pulmonary illnesses. 

Barnett said he is concerned that vaping has become a 'fad' for people as young as 16 to adults in their early 30s, who, otherwise, might have not even be smokers. 

"A lot of the vaping is done with flavors, almost like bubblegum. So, I think they are going after a very young market and I think what we're going to have is a whole generation of people who are addicted not to cigarettes, but to vaping," he said.  

Barnett said this is a problem because vaping has not been around long enough to determine the long-term effects it can have on people. 

According to him, just because there may not be nicotine, it doesn't mean there aren't any other hazards associated with it. People need to consider where the cartridges are made and what toxin are put in them, Barnett said. 

Doctors are not the only ones concerned about what is added to vapes. 

"Where are you getting your product from, because we've seen a lot in the news lately about vaping that have been underground or black-market type cartridges that have been made in somebody's house or basement and that's biggest concern for a company like us," said Vapors personal manager, Anthony Ramella.

Ramella said their goal at the Vapors locations is to get people away from smoking cigarettes and provide customers with another option. 

"People that have never vaped and never smoked; don't vape. This is for adult smokers to get off of cigarettes," he said. 

Aside from pulmonary illness, it's unclear if there are other problems stemming from vaping. 

Experts say there us still a lot of unknown, while federal health officials are warning people to be careful.

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