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There have been more than 1,000 illnesses and multiple deaths linked to e-cigarettes. Now some research from Butler University finds the health problems of vaping go even further. 

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A Johnson County, Kansas, resident has filed a class action lawsuit claiming the country’s leading electronic cigarette maker, Juul Labs, fraudulently concealed the addictive nature of its vaping products and misrepresented their safety.

Isaac Gant says he began vaping as a senior in high school four years ago and now is addicted to nicotine, suffers from respiratory problems, bouts of anxiety, coughing fits and the need to take frequent breaks at work to satisfy his nicotine cravings.

Segment 1: Educators see more vaping in schools, and researchers are beginning to understand how e-cigarettes affect lungs

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

KANSAS CITY, Kansas — Many people figure vaping spares their health because it lets them inhale nicotine in aerosols instead of sucking in smoke from burning cigarettes.

New research from the University of Kansas casts doubt on that, raising the specter that vaping nicotine may cause some of the same respiratory problems that plague and even kill smokers today.

“Vaping is just considered not harmful, even though there are no data to support that statement,” researcher Matthias Salathe said. “There are more and more data to actually oppose that statement.”

Vaping at Kansas schools is reaching epidemic proportions, prompting the Kansas State Board of Education to launch a concerted campaign against it.

“This thing hit us like a tsunami,” said Jeff Hersh, assistant superintendent at Goddard Public Schools. “Quite honestly it’s very alarming.”

The new reality of smoking at Kansas high schools is visible in the parking lots, where used-up Juul pods have taken the place of cigarette butts.

“You can pick up the discarded Juul cartridges all over the concrete,” Andover High School school resource officer Heath Kintzel said of the popular vaping brand. “It’s everywhere.”

Seg. 1: Smoking & Vaping Culture. Seg. 2: Carmaletta Williams

Jan 18, 2019

Segment 1: Cultural shifts in smoking and vaping.

With smoking banned in most public places — and vaping on the rise among teens — we look at the changing nature of smoking culture.

  • Chris Young, millennial smoker and KCUR assistant event producer
  • Kevin Kufeldt, program manager, Adolescent Center for Treatment at the Johnson County Mental Health Center

Segment 2, beginning at 33:30: Meet the new director of an organization dedicated to preserving local history.

Madeline Fox / Kansas News Service

Segment 1: After the incumbent's endorsement, Kris Kobach emerges as the GOP nominee to face Greg Orman and Laura Kelly in November's midterm.

With the field set for this fall's gubernatorial election in Kansas, the three campaigns left standing will turn their full attention to winning in November. Before we follow suit, we invited political watchers in Topeka to consider the implications a Kobach-Hartman ticket will have on down-ballot Republicans hoping to appeal to moderate voters.

Overland Park Raises Age Of Tobacco Purchase To 21

May 17, 2016
File photo / Heartland Health Monitor

The Overland Park City Council on Monday set 21 as the minimum age to buy tobacco products, meaning that a regional campaign has now upped the legal age in the metropolitan area’s five largest cities.

The council approved the ordinance Monday on a 9-3 vote, with council members Dave Janson, Fred Spears and Dan Stock voting against the measure.

Megan Hart / Heartland Health Monitor

Kansas health advocates lauded the Food and Drug Administration’s decision Thursday to regulate electronic cigarettes, while those in the vaping industry pointed to harm to businesses and people trying to quit smoking.

The FDA announced that it would ban selling or giving free samples of e-cigarettes and their nicotine cartridges, cigars, hookahs and pipe tobacco to people younger than 18. Kansas law already forbids the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.

United Health Foundation

More than a quarter of adult Kansans say they don’t have any of five major behavioral risk factors for chronic disease, but the picture isn’t so rosy for minorities, men or people with lower incomes.

A recent report from the United Health Foundation examined the percentage of adults with five unhealthy behaviors: smoking, excessive drinking, insufficient sleep, physical inactivity and obesity.

Mike Sherry / Heartland Health Monitor

Business and health leaders on Thursday announced an ambitious initiative to convince elected officials in the dozens of municipalities throughout the Kansas City area to raise the legal age for buying cigarettes from 18 to 21.

Spearheaded by the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, “Tobacco 21 | KC” aims to build on a movement that now counts nearly 100 communities around the country and the state of Hawaii that have made 21 the legal age for purchasing tobacco products.

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A study to be published in an upcoming issue of JAMA Pediatrics is the first to find a causal link between young people using e-cigarettes and then moving on to tobacco products.

The study, funded by the National Cancer Institute, followed a national sample of 700 16- to 26-year-old non-smokers. When first surveyed, all of them said they did not think they would smoke a traditional cigarette within the next year, even if offered one by a friend.

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Erica Anderson, a health promotion specialist for the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department, likes to tell a story about a woman who came to one of her workshops eager to talk about electronic cigarettes.

The woman, who was pregnant, said she was in a restaurant when a man at the table next to her started puffing on an e-cigarette, which delivers nicotine to users in a vapor. As the white cloud of vapor wafted over to her, she got up and asked the restaurant owner to tell the man to stop.

Kansas Indoor Clean Air Act Hits Five Years

Jul 1, 2015
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When it took effect five years ago, the Kansas Indoor Clean Air Act had some restaurant and business owners concerned.

But their worries about the state law prohibiting smoking in most public places — including workplaces, public buildings, bars and restaurants — have largely gone unrealized.

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A coalition of health organizations is supporting Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s call for a big increase in the state’s cigarette tax.

Brownback is proposing to raise the tax by $1.50 per pack, increasing it from 79 cents to $2.29. The governor wants to use the approximately $81 million in additional revenue to close a gaping hole in the fiscal 2016 budget.

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A business-led group based in Kansas City, Mo., is leading an effort to quadruple Missouri’s lowest-in-the-nation cigarette tax and direct the proceeds to early childhood health and education programs.

Organizers of the “Raise Your Hand for Kids” campaign on Friday outlined their plan for a statewide ballot initiative to an audience of about 100 business, education, health and early-childhood leaders at the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.

The campaign aims to increase Missouri’s cigarette tax from 17 cents to 67 cents a pack.

Marius Mellebye / Creative Commons-Flickr

New health rankings  show Kansas stuck at No. 27 among the 50 states, the same slot it occupied last year. But there was a time – not that long ago – when the state ranked much higher than the middle of the pack.

The annual United Health Foundation rankings are a snapshot of 30 health measures ranging from clinical care to behavior and environment to state policy. Dr. Rhonda Randall, the foundation’s chief health advisor, says there’s no mistaking the trend.

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States continue to spend a miniscule portion of the billions of dollars they collect annually in tobacco revenues on smoking prevention and cessation programs, according to a new report by six leading health organizations.  

Missouri spent $76,314 on tobacco prevention in the latest fiscal year, the report says. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended it should have spent nearly $73 million.

Only one state, New Jersey, spent a smaller percentage of its tobacco funds on anti-smoking programs. New Jersey allocated no funds for tobacco prevention.  

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Data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week show that between 2005 and 2013, the percentage of U.S. adults who smoked declined from almost 21 percent to slightly less than 18 percent.

That’s the lowest percentage since the CDC began keeping tobacco use records in 1965.

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One of Missouri's largest employers will no longer hire nicotine users.

As of January 1, 2015, MU Health Care, the five-hospital University of Missouri health system based in Columbia, Mo., said it won't offer jobs to people who smoke cigarettes, cigars or pipes, chew tobacco or "vape" electronic cigarettes.

The health system made the announcement Thursday to coincide with the American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout holiday.

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Call them e-cigarettes, vapes, e-juices or e-liquids. Just don’t call them tobacco.

Early last Thursday, Missouri legislators overwhelmingly overrode the governor’s veto of a bill governing electronic cigarettes and the nicotine-infused mixtures they deliver. While the new law bans sales to minors, it also prevents e-cigarettes from being classified as "tobacco products."

“It was operating under the guise of protecting youth, but really it just created a special carve-out for a special interest,” says Traci Kennedy, executive director of Tobacco-Free Missouri.

When The Smoke Clears, Are Vapes OK?

Aug 20, 2014
Shazanah Hassan / Flickr-CC

E-cigarettes, or vapes, are a growing trend, but many places ban them right along with the traditional smoking objects they're meant to replace. One of those places is the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

On Wednesday's Up to Date, we look at whether these alternatives should be banned and what we know about them so far.

Guests:

As a kid growing up in Grandview, Mo., Michael Thompson began smoking cigarettes at the age of 13. Thirty-four years later, in 1997, he came down with lung cancer.

In 2000, he filed a personal injury suit in Jackson County Circuit Court against the makers of the cigarettes he smoked. A jury awarded him $1 million. A state appeals court later upheld the verdict.

In 2009, Thompson died of throat cancer. His widow and children then filed a wrongful death action in state court against  two of the manufacturers, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Philip Morris USA.

 In Kansas last year, more than 4,800 women smoked cigarettes during their pregnancies, according to a preliminary summary of birth statistics released Tuesday by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

The finding means that in 2013, about one in every eight births - 12.5 percent - involved mothers who smoked for at least three months shortly before or during their pregnancies.

Todd Feeback / KCPT

Despite the well-known risks, rates of smoking have remained stubbornly high in Missouri – about 25 percent of adults, compared with 18 percent nationally. In Kansas City public housing, the problem is even worse, with smokers comprising 40 percent of all tenants.

That high rate is especially disturbing to health advocates because of the high numbers of vulnerable people, particularly children, the disabled and elderly, who live in public housing.

A new policy aims to do away with smoking in city-owned housing, but many residents are not pleased.

Tell KCUR: Where Should We Still Allow Smoking?

May 19, 2014
KCUR

Public options for smokers are becoming few and far between in Kansas City, Mo.

Since 2008, smoking has been banned in bars and restaurants located in Kansas City. The state of Kansas went smoke-free in 2012.

University campus buildings have been smoke-free for years in Kansas City, but beginning Aug. 1, smoking outside on the campus of the University of Missouri-Kansas City will be prohibited.  

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Republican members of the Missouri House who smoke will still be able to, while Democrats won’t. That's the result of a new House rule adopted today.

New Study: Business Not Affected By Smoking Ban

Jan 24, 2011

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kansas City's smoking ban has had little, if any, impact on business at area eating and drinking establishments. That's according to a new study, which looked at sales data before and after the ban was enacted in 2008.

John Taurus, an economics professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago, coauthored the study. He says any changes in sales that did take place were related to the overall economic climate.

Jefferson City, MO – Though the recent trend in Missouri has been to go smoke free, the Missouri House voted Thursday to continue to allow smoking in members' offices in the Capitol building.

Smoking is already banned on the House floor and in the public viewing chambers above. But an attempt was made Thursday to extend that ban to the entire House side of the State Capitol, including the individual offices of every House member. The measure was sponsored by Democrat Jeanette Mott Oxford of St. Louis.

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