TAMPA (WFLA) – The potential harm e-cigarettes may inflict on users is becoming more and more evident as research continues. But what about the effects vape fumes have on people who hang out with vapers?
“We really started research on it about 10 years ago,” says American Lung Association Regional Director Steven Riddle. “We just know it’s harmful, and with the products, especially the nicotine, and the addiction to our youth.”
To combat the growing, and now deadly epidemic, the ALA is aiming a new PSA campaign toward middle and high schoolers. This is the age group that simply uses e-cigarettes because of peer pressure, and the idea that they think vaping is “cool.” This goes against the supposed original intent of e-cigs to wean smokers off of tobacco.
The campaign is called “Vape Talk.” In the TV spots, teen actors express to imaginary parents common facts and inner thought process of young people on the verge of experimenting with vaping.
“Mom and Dad,” explains one boy, “it’ll seem harmless enough. You won’t know I’m vaping. It’s easy to hide. And by the time you figure it out, I’ll be hooked on nicotine.”
The Centers for Disease Control estimate more than 20 percent of high school students used e-cigarettes in 2018. Those are just the teens who admit using.
But there is a wider danger. Teens often gather to vape at parties, and even if a student doesn’t inhale through a device, there is big potential for lung damage.
“And the fact is,” says Riddle, “that dealing with tobacco and now vaping, we realize from a second hand smoking perspective, it’s as potentially damaging as regular tobacco.”
Mainly from Benzene, a known carcinogen that is found in car exhaust, lead, nickel, and pesticides. Riddle and his organization continue to do research and fight for laws to protect teens against vape and e-cigarettes. In the meantime, it’s up to everyone to take up the mantle, “and to understand that the youth are the ones that are being affected. And if we don’t control it now, who knows where it will be?”
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