PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Last year, awareness rose about the e-cigarette JUUL and its use among teens. Anti-tobacco groups have been working to educate young people about the health risks, but despite their efforts, more teens are using.
Gustavo Torrez with Tobacco Free Kids says over the past year, youth e-cigarette use increased 78 percent.
“Studies have also shown that kids who use e-cigarettes are more likely to become cigarette smokers,” said Torrez.
Anti-tobacco groups are working to get the FDA to ban flavored tobacco and vape products because that’s part of what’s so appealing to young people.
“If we can get these over 15,000 flavors such as cotton candy, mango, gummie bear off the market, we can really help to reverse this epidemic,” Torrez added.
The long-term health effects of e-cigarettes are unknown.
“It begs the importance of some further studies and research on this issue, but while we’re doing the research, while we’re doing these studies, one thing we do know is that these products really shouldn’t be on the market and our kids shouldn’t be guinea pigs while we wait to learn more about them,” Torrez said.
Torrez says e-cigarette use is an epidemic among young people and many don’t realize they’re jeopardizing their health.
“Many kids still believe e-cigarettes produce harmless water vapor. And as we know, that’s definitely not the case. E-cigarettes expose kids to nicotine which is extremely addictive and can harm the developing brain,” he said.