Vaping pens, e-cigarettes to be included on National Drug Take Back Day

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Police are hoping to battle what health officials are calling the “vaping health crisis” by including vape pens in National Drug Take Back Day later this month.

State health officials report 31 cases of vaping-related lung disease and one fatality since August. Nationwide, the CDC says there have been 26 deaths.

The suspected cause for the lung illnesses is chemical exposure, according to Department of Health Commissioner Renee Coleman Mitchell.

"The greatest danger we face is that these vaping-related lung illnesses are not only outbreak, but may in fact become an endemic or even costly chronic disease," she says.

The commissioner says investments in education are needed and urged lawmakers on Capitol Hill for more federal funding to fight the vaping emergency.

“Do you want to wait another 50 years to combat the vaping epidemic?” she asked. “We need to act now."

In addition to prescription drugs, the Drug Enforcement Administration has added vaping pens and cartridges to the list of what can be dropped off for disposal.

Easton police, one of 50 Connecticut cities and towns participating, will set up their collection box in the Easton Public Library parking lot on Oct. 26 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Police say batteries must be removed before the vaping pens, cartridges and electronic cigarettes before they are dropped off because they are a fire hazard.

"I think [vaping devices] is a concern everywhere – if you look in the schools, in our community,” says Easton Capt. Richard Doyle. “It gives people an opportunity to dispose of them properly."

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