Unlike regular cigarettes, electronic cigarettes don’t have the regulations or the studies to give us more information. But health experts say Big Tobacco is using them to target kids.
“We’re just teaching you stay away from anything that could be addicting in anyway,” said parent Catherine Mower.
It’s the rule of thumb in the Mower household. But more kids are straying away from that thought process and trying electronic cigarettes.
Big Tobacco says it’s not as bad as a normal cigarette, but Salt Lake County Health Department Tobacco Prevention Program Manager Kathy Garrett disagrees.
“It’s still nicotine and it’s not FDA approved or regulated. So we really do not know what are in them,” said Garrett.
Garrett says companies are blatantly targeting kids with wacky flavors any kid would like. Chocolate, Apple, and orange soda flavors top the list.
Not only is it illegal for kids or anyone under the age of 19 to use these electronic nicotine sticks, but Garrett says Utah’s Indoor Clean Air Act means even an adult can’t use them in public places like schools, clubs, or businesses. But because of their small size, it’s easy to conceal.
“I’m getting reports they're in their classrooms and their teachers don't even know that they're vaping,” said Garrett.
Research shows more kids are using these e-cigarettes and that could lead to trying other drugs. Current federal and state laws haven’t caught up with this latest health concern. So that means it’s up to parents to regulate their kids access and ability to smoke.
“There will always be something that comes out something new some other way of advertising it,” said Mower.