Study: More Students Trying E-Cigarettes

Reported by: Melanie Kendall
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Updated: 3/08 12:04 am

The Kentucky Senate passed a bill that would ban minors from buying e-cigarettes which are marketed as a safer alternative to regular cigarettes.

Dale Ferguson, owner of The Fayette Cigar Store, said his customers demanded he start selling e-cigarettes.

Ferguson said he was unsure at first of the e-cigarettes but he said he hasn’t gotten any complaints.

E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that look like cigarettes.  They heat a liquid solution and create a nicotine vapor that’s inhaled.

A new study said the percent of high school students who said they’d tried e-cigarettes doubled in the past year.

“Children who either experiment or are regular users of conventional cigarettes are more likely to use electronic cigarettes and less likely to quit,” said Ellen Hahn, PhD, RN, FAAN and director of the Tobacco Policy Research Program.  “That is scary from a public health perspective.”

Hahn said all the work done to de-normalize cigarette smoking is now in jeopardy.

“What we're worried about is that more and more non-users will use them as a gateway into conventional cigarettes and have a lifetime of pain and chronic disease and early death,” said Hahn.

She said the most alarming thing is that no one knows how safe e-cigarettes are.

“We need more research. We need to know what the health effects are. Why should we be playing around with a product that we don't know,” said Hahn.

Ferguson said he’s seen e-cigarettes help people quit smoking.  He said his customers are usually older than those who were party of the survey in the study.

He said this flavored form of tobacco could attract younger users but it could also be competition with his pipe tobacco.

“We're not really a leader in this thing we're kind of responding to what the public's demanding,” said Ferguson.  “There's always the question because we only got into this because we had so much demand for it.”

E-cigarettes are not regulated and neither is its advertising.

Flavored cigarettes are illegal.

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