Vaping enthusiasts at a convention disappear in a cloud.

Youth e-cigarette use jumped 80 percent between 2017 and 2019, according to the Oregon Health Authority.

A sharp increase in illnesses and deaths related to vaping has promoted state action over the past few months and on Tuesday, Jan. 28, the Vaping Public Health Work Group will begin meeting in Salem. The group has been assembled to address the epidemic of vaping-related illness and youth vaping in Oregon.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has announced the membership of the group, which includes state legislators, state agency representatives, pulmonologists, pediatricians, and public health experts. They will meet to discuss the health risks of vaping and make public policy recommendations for long-term solutions to address the vaping epidemic.

Among the health experts on the panel is Dr. Brian Druker of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, a pioneer in the field of precision medicine whose research has helped to revolutionize cancer treatment. Dr. Mary McKenzie, the Director of Pulmonology at Legacy Health, will also bring her direct experience working with patients with vaping-related lung injuries to the work group.

“I am confident that this group of talented health care leaders will bring forward innovative ideas to help keep Oregonians safe from the risks of vaping-related illnesses," Brown said. "While the number of new vaping-related illness cases has tapered since states acted to restrict certain vaping products and additives, we have been left to grapple with the sobering reality that youth use of vaping products has skyrocketed in recent years."

According to Brown, after years of lax federal regulation, there is no way to ensure the safety of many vaping products on the market.

"This summer’s vaping crisis was a nationwide wake-up call that we need to do more to ensure our children’s health and safety," she said. "I look forward to seeing the results of these experts' collaboration.”

The membership of the Vaping Public Health Work Group includes:

  • Senator Floyd Prozanski
  • Senator Bill Hansell
  • Representative Ron Noble
  • Representative Sheri Schouten
  • Lillian Shirley, Public Health Director, Oregon Health Authority
  • Steve Marks, Executive Director, Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC)
  • Lou Savage, Acting Director, Department of Consumer & Business Services (DCBS)
  • Nia Ray, Director, Oregon Department of Revenue (DOR)
  • Alexis Taylor, Director, Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA)
  • Dean Sidelinger, MD, MSEd, FAAP, State Public Health Officer & State Epidemiologist
  • Mary McKenzie, MD, Director of Pulmonology, Legacy Health
  • Brian Druker, MD, Director, OHSU Knight Cancer Institute
  • Serena Black, MD, Pediatric Hospitalist, PeaceHealth
  • Peter Reed, MD, MPH, FAAP, Pediatrician
  • David Lehrfeld, MD, Emergency Medicine
  • Susan Pinnock, RN, Public Health Nurse, Washington County
  • Christopher Friend, American Cancer Society
  • Christina Bodamer, American Heart Association
  • Michael Collins, Director of Managed Care, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs
  • Rob Bovett, Association of Oregon Counties
  • Rodger Voelker, PhD, Senior Analytical Chemist, Cascade Chemistry
  • Jim Ferraris, Chief of Police, Woodburn
  • Mike Getlin, Oregon Industry Progress Association

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