More teens using e-cigs nationally and locally

TOPEKA (KSNT)- Nearly everywhere you look these stores are popping up throughout every community. Inside there’s a big white cloud that’s created as storm no one can predict, “They’re not FDA regulated,” Craig Barnes, Health Promotion Coordinator with the Shawnee County Health Agency said.

E-Cigarettes were first designed to help traditional smokers quit, but they’re attracting a whole new customer, on who never even smoked to begin with, “At this point I kind of do it for the fun,” Brandon Markham, e-cig user said.

Teenagers have become the new target, the rising popularity of e-cigarettes has health experts increasingly concerned the devices may erase the progress made in reducing teen smoking.

“One of my friends he had one, he said he like it a lot, he let me try it out a few times, I liked it,” 19-year-old Markham is not alone.

A new study looked at data from more than 2,000 11th and 12th graders. About one in four have tried e-cigarettes, and almost 10% were current users. That’s nearly double the number of teens who smoke traditional cigarettes, and it’s happening in Shawnee County.

“We are noticing that there’s a large uptick of adolescence using E-cigarettes as an alternative to starting to smoking cigarettes,” Barnes said.

When I asked the owner at Juicy’s Vapor Lounge in Topeka he said they don’t target teens, instead they focus on the demographic between 27 and 40, a statistic county health officials don’t agree with, “They might say they’re not marketing to them,” Barnes said.  “But you got to get somebody started young if you want to get them to continue going through their life span, and that’s how they make money,”

What draws Markham is in the clouds of vapor, there’s even a ruler at Juicy’s Vapor Lounge so people can compete,”You can get pretty big clouds out of it, I like big clouds,” Markham said.

From the endless flavors, to the big white clouds. We’ll just have to wait and see how severe this e-cig addiction with teens gets.

Starting next July e-cig users in Kansas will face additional taxes. The hikes are supposed to help the state raise about $2 million. State health officials hope that the higher tax will also help people “Kick the habit.”

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