The Department of Health’s Tobacco Prevention and Control Program Director said that one of the biggest problems in the vaping industry is that companies have never had to prove the safety and efficacy of their products.

Companies are not required to disclose any ingredients at this point, and some may even be labeled as ‘FDA approved.’

However, one example of a loophole for the industry is this: the contents of the flavoring may be FDA approved, but they have not been tested to be safe for inhalation.

The 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act did not identify vape devices as tobacco products and it wasn’t until 2016 that they became regulated.

Since then, regulation has been continuously pushed back and companies still do not have to prove the safety of their products.

“As long as we don’t know, we as a health department cannot say these products are okay to use,” Neil Charvat, ND DOH Tobacco Prevention and Control Program Director said.

“The sad part is is that this generation of youth who grew up with ‘smoking’s bad, smoking is dangerous,’ probably never would have touched it. We know the rates were going down, but they’re the guinea pigs for a new addictive product that lacks regulation.”

Charvat said a ‘common denominator’ among vape products has not been established when it comes to vape-related illness.

While many cases point to THC, the data hasn’t been found to prove what chemical or chemicals are causing pulmonary injury.

The North Dakota Department of Health just started tracking vape-related illnesses in August, and it’s encouraged that people report any possible symptoms to the state or to their health care provider.

Click here to report a possible vape-related illness on the state’s online portal.