Health officials concerned about e-cigarette popularity among teens
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Health professionals gathered in Clark County on Tuesday to discuss electronic cigarettes, especially the popularity of the products among teens.
Organizers said the increased number of small e-cigarette shops popping up around the area was one of several reasons that led to the panel.
“E-cigarettes are under-researched, unregulated products with unknown consequences for individual and public health,” said Sally Petty, regional director for the Indiana State Department of Health-Tobacco Prevention and Cessation.
Ashley Webb, director of Kentucky Poison Control, said parents should treat e-cigs like medication.
“Keep the product up and away from children out of sight," Webb said. "Do not use the product in front of them because they're likely to mimic adult activity.”
E-cigarettes are not currently regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. But minors are not allowed purchase the products in Kentucky and Indiana.
Rob Kaiser, the owner of Liquid Palace in New Albany and Corydon, says some still attempt to buy e-cigarettes from his shop. He says he didn't sell to minors even before the ban.
“They do try,” said Kaiser. “Some of them will try and say they don't have their wallet.”
According to a 2012 Indiana youth tobacco survey, 10 percent of Indiana high school students have tried an e-cigarette.
Taylor Moore, a junior at Jeffersonville High School, was also a member of the panel. He wrote an article in the school's newspaper after noticing the usage of e-cigarettes among his peers.
“Teens are also addicted to the new and addictive flavors like coca cola, mellow yellow, mystic purple,” said Moore.
But Kaiser says he wishes e-cigs would've been around when he started smoking as a teenager.
“Because I would've never started smoking,” Kaiser said. “I would've done this and I still would've been able to run and have the energy that I have now.”
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