SAN MARCOS (KGTV) - Electronic cigarettes are handheld devices marketed as a second option for smokers that simulates the feeling of tobacco smoking.
But the flavors, discreet packaging and marketing campaigns have many wondering if tobacco companies had children and teenagers in mind when they designed them.
“They now come disguised as USB drives and some made to mimic the look of phones,” said Haley Guiffrida, a prevention specialist with the Vista Community Clinic.
Several parents and students attended a community forum on vapes and E-cigarettes Thursday night.
The forum was put on by the North Coastal Prevention Coalition and hosted by Woodland Park Middle School. It focused on all drugs on campus, there was an emphasis on vapes and e-cigarettes.
“I actually thought, 'Oh my gosh, these are actually disguised you never know where they could be,'" said 13-year-old Elijah Sanchez after he saw the products at the forum.
Josh Way, the principal of Woodland Park Middle School, said e-cigarettes have occasionally been confiscated from students at his school. He also understands it’s easier for kids to hide them now that they come in multiple forms.
“In California alone, more than four million students say they tried e-cigarettes in 2016,” Guiffrida said.
Some facts and figures provided by the Vista Community Clinic:
-- In 2016, more than 2 million U.S. middle and high school students used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days, including 4.3% of middle school students and 11.3% of high school students (from National Youth Tobacco Survey 2011-2015).
-- In 2016, the age to purchase tobacco products changed to 21. E-cigarettes are now defined as tobacco product and are subject to taxation. Tax on a pack of cigarettes raised by $2.00 (CTCP, 2018).
-- E-Cigarettes are targeting teens. 7 in 10 middle and high school students are exposed to e-cigarette advertising (NIDA, 2016).
-- Youth and young adults especially vulnerable to the toxic effect of nicotine, 9 out of 10 lifelong smokers start before the age of 18 (CDC, E-Cigarette Fact Sheet 2016).
-- Certain chemicals present in e-liquids are unsafe for inhalation, Diacetyl when inhaled, is associated with loss of pulmonary function (CDC, E-Cigarette Fact Sheet 2016).
-- As the FDA continues to extend their ingredient listing compliance deadline, there is still access to unregulated Vape Juice (E-Liquid) curently available on the market (FDA, 2018).
-- Nationally, a reported 61 e-cigarette battery explosions took place in people's pockets from 2009-2016 with the rise of e-cigarette use (U.S. Fire Administration, January 2009-December 2016).