Illinois lawmakers propose fees on e-cigarettes to discourage vaping

Some Illinois congressional leaders say it's time for vaping companies to pay for the harm they're inflicting on children. They're proposing legislation that would force the companies to pay for anti-vaping public education.

Among the supporters is a New Lenox mom who nearly lost her daughter to vaping.

"We were so blindsided as parents. And I thought if this happened to us, it's happening to other people," Ruby Johnson said.

Johnson's 18-year-old daughter Piper was hospitalized for a week in August after she became gravely ill from vaping THC and nicotine.

On Friday, Johnson joined several Illinois congressional leaders as they proposed new legislation forcing vaping companies to pay to educate kids not to use their products.

"Make no mistake, E cigarette companies like Juul target children. While the Food and Drug Administration has done much less that it should have done,” said Sen. Dick Durbin.

Studies show 28-percent of high school students are vaping, and 11-percent of middle schoolers -- both groups at nearly triple the rate of just two years ago.

Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi says it's even reached into his own home.

"Our high school student, who is 14, was approached more than 20 times in the first month of high school to begin vaping,” said Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi.

The so-called "PREVENT" act would impose a fee on vaping products that would generate $200-million a year -- money that would then be used to pay for anti-vaping education campaigns in schools.

"If this legislation is approved, this will mean additional resources that we can use in the school system in order to prevent this from becoming a threat to so many of our students,” said CEO of CPS Dr. Janice Jackson.

Juul has denied marketing to children, and recently halted sales of flavored e-cigarettes that are popular with teens.

The company did not respond to the proposed legislation, which may be introduced in congress next week.