DES MOINES — Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds says there are dangers associated with “vaping” and she’s discussing policy options with key advisers.

“I think it’s alarming what we’re continuing to see and the increase in the number of cases and so we continue to work with the Iowa Department of Public Health to collect the data,” she says.

State officials announced last Friday that nearly two dozen Iowans had been diagnosed with a respiratory illness linked to so-called “vaping” with an electronic cigarette. Reynolds says a majority of the illnesses involved vaping products containing THC, a chemical from marijuana.

“That’s a significant concern,” Reynolds says. “That’s, you know, illegal.”

According to federal officials, nine people have died in the U.S. from the mysterious illness connected to vaping and hundreds have been hospitalized.

“The increases that we’re seeing in people using, especially young people, is concerning,” Reynolds says, “to see the growth really in a short time frame.”

This week the Republican governor of Massachusetts declared vaping a “public health emergency” and imposed a four-month ban on all vaping products. Also this week, Minnesota’s governor called on his state’s legislature to ban the sale of the flavored pods inserted in “e-cigarettes.” Similar bans are already in effect in New York and Michigan.

A federal study found the number of high school seniors who were “vaping” doubled from 2017 to 2018. Preliminary data from this year’s survey indicates one in nine teenagers “vapes” daily.

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