Are E-Cigs Attracting a Younger Generation?

E-cigarettes are a popular replacement for traditional smoking, but who is the target audience?
Earlier this week in our newscast we told you how e-cigs are unregulated by the federal government.

It’s a risk e-cig users, or vapor users, are taking.

But with fun flavors, and an odorless smell, more and more teens are using them.

And the numbers keep rising.
Just from 2013 to 2014, e-cigarette use tripled among middle and high school students according to the CDC.
And it’s not hard to figure out why.
“Even how they’re packaging them. Like the colors they use, are starting to attract younger generations,” says Chelsea Lunde of Fargo.  
Dr. Lunde, of no relation to Chelsea, is a family physician at Essentia’s Moorhead Clinic and she’s added one more question to some of her younger patient’s routine exams.
“I’ve now come to the conclusion if I have a kid who walks into my practice and they walk in the door and smell like cotton candy or something like that and they’re 14 or 15. I’m asking them about vaping,” says Essentia Family Medicine Physician, Dr. Lara Lunde.
The nicotine and flavored liquid are mixed to create e-liquid, but Dr. Lunde says there is no way to know just how much nicotine is in one e-cigarette.
“Groups that are doing this that are selling over the counter…it’s you or me. It’s not even someone with experience mixing this, it can be the individual who was just hired yesterday and ‘oh I’m going to mix you up some cotton candy blueberry’ and that’s frightening,” says Dr. Lunde.
And what can be even more frightening is what can happen when a batch goes wrong.
“So if it drops on a five year old child’s tongue, they’re looking at it and playing with it, it could poison them. An eighth of a teaspoon could poison a five year old,” says Dr. Lunde.
Unfortunately, it’s possible older generations aren’t setting the best example either.

Chelsea Lunde’s brother-in-law turned to e-cigs to replace smoking tobacco.
“He was a smoker for years and then turned to chewing for a while and then e-cigs. Same thing…heard they were a healthier option,” says Chelsea Lunde.
“People think that e-cigs are going to help them get off tobacco. There is zero evidence to support that claim. Zero.” says Dr. Lunde.

While e-cigarettes are only sold to those 18 years and older, Dr. Lunde tells me it’s not difficult to cheat the system.

She says you can easily go online, check a box confirming you’re 18 and you’re good to go.

And with no cigarette smell, it’s tough for parents to know if your kids are vaping.

Dr. Lunde suggests sitting down with your kids to discuss the risks.

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