Making e-cigarettes less appealing to teens

Many kids think e-cigs are a healthy alternative to smoking cigarettes. That’s no surprise, said Dr. Ryan Van Ramshorst of University Health System’s Community Medicine Associates.

Talking to KSAT’s Adrian Garcia about a CDC report on rising e-cigarette use among youth in the United States, Dr. Van Ramshorst predicted the numbers will get worse before they get better, but that legislation can help.

“I think at least in the short term (youth e-cigarette use) is going to continue to increase,” Dr. Van Ramshorst said, “and a big factor contributing to this is the advertising that’s being put forth by the e-cigarette industry.”

E-cigarette and vaper product ads “are very reminiscent of the ads used by the tobacco industry in the ’70s with Joe Camel and other cartoons,” he said. Now vaping products have flavors like “cookies and cream” and “gummi bear” designed to appeal to younger people.

And young people are buying into the notion that vaping is healthier than smoking. They’ll tell the doctor they don’t smoke, and then they’ll say they vape.

“Lots of teenagers think that they’re not as dangerous as traditional cigarettes,” Dr. Van Ramshorst said. “I’m proud that the state recently passed a law limiting youth access to e-cigarettes … I’d like to see every single state in the United States have similar legislation.”

See the KSAT story here.