People throughout the Southeast can hand over their vaping devices as an “emerging public health threat” looms, federal officials say.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration announced its Charlotte District Office was teaming up with local officials to accept vaping devices and cartridges at sites across the region on Saturday.
It’s an expansion of National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, an annual event that allows people to drop off their “expired, unused, and unwanted pills,” according to a DEA news release.
“Concerns have been raised across the United States over illnesses and death caused by vaping and the high youth vaping initiation rates,” the news release says. “In an effort to support a healthy lifestyle and energetic population, especially amongst America’s youth, DEA is committed to doing all it can to help safely dispose of vaping devices and substances.”
Vaping is the use of electronic cigarettes, which can contain nicotine and other dangerous substances, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.
Nationally, there have been 33 deaths and more than 1,400 cases of “lung injury” linked to vaping, according to information reported to the CDC.
In the Southeast, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control reports 30 “confirmed or probable” cases of vaping-related lung disease.
And patients throughout the Carolinas have been on life support for sicknesses thought to be tied to e-cigarette use, The State reported.
Those who are interested in participating in the anonymous DEA events can search for drop-off times and locations online at takebackday.dea.gov. Officials say people should take out lithium ion batteries before turning in their devices.
North Carolina’s last Take-Back Day netted nearly 9,000 pounds of medication, the DEA says.