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Gundersen allergist stumped on continued vaping with all the hospitalizations, deaths

Drew Kelly

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Vaping among underage children is a growing problem, including locally.

One in five high school students in the area has admitted to vaping, according to the La Crosse County Health Department.

With the growing health concerns, Gundersen Allergist Todd Mahr said he’s not sure what it’s going to take for people to stop.

“Twenty-two people have died, and it’s directly related to vaping,” Mahr said. “I don’t think there’s any doubt that the activity is unsafe. It’s all about how much risk are you willing to take.”

Some have been from off-market juices, yet there have been others that have vaped legally and still gotten sick.

Mahr is especially concerned about the unregulated products.

“The black market has moved into this, with off-brand stuff, and that’s where, I think, a lot of people are getting into trouble,” Mahr said.

Mahr added that health officials are acting reactively to hopefully be proactive in the future.

“You’re going back to these cases and trying to figure out what they were vaping,” Mahr said. “In some cases, these are young adults and they’re not willing to admit to it.”