Jacksonville's opioid task force working on legislation to combat teen vaping

A trend sending local teens to the hospital

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Local kids have been hospitalized for vaping-related illnesses and doctors said it's a trend that doesn't seem to be slowing down.

That's why Jacksonville City Council is working on legislation that would hopefully reverse the trend.

"If adults want to vape let them do it, but teens are the ones that concern me because I don't think they understand the ramifications of it," explains Dr. Ron Salem, Jacksonville City Councilman at large.

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Jacksonville's opioid task force is now tackling another trend that's sending local teens to area hospitals.

Local doctors are seeing vaping illnesses every month.

"We have not seen the trend slowing down at all," explains Dr. Charles McCaslin, a pediatric pulmonologist for Wolfson Children's Hospital and Nemours Children's Specialty Care.

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McCaslin said seven children have already come in for either confirmed or suspected vaping-related illnesses just within the last four months, and that's only at Wolfson Children's Hospital.

"We see mostly late teenagers 15 to 18 years of age who have vaping-related lung illnesses, but we have seen a baby with a vaping-related illness where they actually ingested some of the chemicals," says McCaslin.

Local 15-year-old, Tyler Combs, is one of those teenagers. Action News Jax met him while he was in the fight for his life at Wolfson's ICU due to vaping.

His mom said he was finally able to go home Thursday evening after spending three-and-a-half weeks in the hospital.

It's kids, Combs' age city council, hopes to reach.

"I've met with some private sector people that are willing to help, I've talk to the superintendent so we're in the process of seeing what can do. Also, what type of educational effort would be effective to reach teens," Salem said.

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