CUMBERLAND COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- As the number of deaths linked to that lung vaping illness continues to climb across the country, the Cumberland County Public Health Department is taking action. First, by making vaping and e-cigarette use among teens "priority number one."
The health department plans to propose changes to an ordinance that would ban vaping on county property.
"What we are preliminarily looking at is proposing restrictions anywhere that we have restrictions for smoking we would also want to restricting and vaping, " said Duane Holder, Interim Health Director for Cumberland County
The talks come as vaping and e-cigarette use among teens skyrockets by as much as 400 percent. As of Oct. 17, there were 54 cases of suspected vaping and e-cigarette related lung disease reported in North Carolina with individuals ranging in age from 13 to 72-years-old.
There have been no deaths in Cumberland County.
"We've seen illnesses and respiratory illnesses that have been linked to e cigarettes and vaping," said Holder.
Getting ahead of the crisis means making it harder for teens to light up, but local adult e-cigarette users said it sucks the relief out of vaping.
"This is an opportunity for us smokers who are trying to quit to stop. It helps us. It actually helps," said one user.
Others said e-cigarette use is risky.
"There's chemicals or something in there, I mean there's chemicals in cigarettes but who knows what is in that vial that they're sucking on. You're just swapping one devil out for another," said Patrick Richling.
Getting people to follow a new ordinance might get cloudy. ABC11 found many people didn't pay attention to the signs already posted.
The proposal is still in the draft stages but would mimic the rules of nearly 41 other counties in the state.
It still has hurdles before it's handed off to the county board for a vote.
Cumberland County health officials proposing vape ban on county property