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Two locals speak out against e-cigarettes sales to youth

Editor:

Youth love to trick or treat on Halloween, unfortunately, there is one product that is more trick than treat. E-cigarettes look and taste like a treat, but contain a nicotine solution that is turned into a vapor that users inhale.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Youth Tobacco Survey states that e-cigarette use among middle and high school students has doubled, since 2011. This growth can be attributed to the variety of flavors of e-cigarettes such as chocolate, vanilla, cookies and cream and fruit flavors, that appeal to teens and young adults. E-cigarette advertisements are also appearing on television and in magazines.

E-cigarettes’ formula for success is not that much different from how the tobacco industry marketed cigarettes. Stanton Glantz, who directs the Center For Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California San Francisco, says, “They’re making health claims. They’re using celebrities, movies, television. It’s just like getting into a time machine.”

In 2009, the FDA tested e-cigarettes from two leading manufacturers and found detectable levels of toxins and carcinogens in their cartridges.

Any product designed to deliver more than trace amounts of nicotine can lead to addiction. As such, the sale and distribution of these products should only occur after these products are appropriately regulated by the FDA.

The FDA has not approved e-cigarettes as smoking cessation devices. To date, there are no well-controlled studies that test the efficacy of e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation device, despite industry ads to the contrary.

New York has made great strides in reducing youth smoking rates. High school youth smoking rates are down nearly 60 percent from 2000-2012. The introduction of e-cigarettes threatens the substantial gains made in reducing youth smoking in New York.

Erica Sebastian
Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Wyoming Counties Cessation Center Coordinator

Jonathan Chaffee
Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua Counties Reality Check Program Coordinator
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