Local Connection: E-cigarettes - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Local Connection: E-cigarettes

By: Rick Blangiardi

Just when we thought that that tobacco use was on its way down, now comes word that middle school and high school are now getting hooked on e-cigarettes.

Using e-cigarettes has tripled among high school students and quadrupled among middle school students, according to the 2013 Hawaii youth tobacco survey.

In 2011, about five percent of high school students were using e-cigs but in 2013, the percentage grew alarmingly to 17.6 percent.

For middle school students, the percentage rose from 1.8 percent to an alarming eight percent over that same, two-year period.

What's more disturbing is that young people are convinced that e-cigs are safe.

Truth is they are not just vapors. They contain nicotine. and that nicotine is addictive. using e-cigs could push teens into using conventional tobacco products.

To make it even more of a concern, e-cigs also contain propylene glycol, which is a synthetic liquid added to food and cosmetics.

While that use is considered safe, nobody knows the impact of what happens when it is breathed into lungs. Various studies about the vapors from e-cigs also suggest that they contain cancer-causing substances.

Let's hope that the state legislature takes on the suggestion of the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii that vendors, retailers and distributors of e-cigs get a license to sell tobacco and that strong warnings be placed on e-cigarettes as well.

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