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E-Cigarette Companies Respond to the Youth Vaping Epidemic

In September, the Food and Drug Administration declared youth vaping an epidemic and began cracking down on electronic cigarette companies like JUUL. JUUL Labs is one of the largest e-cigarette manufacturers, Tuesday they announced they will stop selling its flavored products in stores. Local vape shops agree this is the best way to keep e-cigarettes out of the hands of adolescents.

“I agree with what the federal government has done with the crackdown, it is way too easy, leaving it in a vape shop is where it belongs,” Nuclear Vape Lounge Manager Kenneth O’Neal said.

Nuclear Vape Lounge in Des Moines has a strict 18 plus policy.

“We get a lot of younger people come in here and try, and I say try because they don’t succeed,” O’Neal said.

But even they understand that the fruity vapor flavors are appealing to a younger crowd. With flavors like mango, mint and strawberry, smoking becomes more tolerable. Even so, doctors claim they are not safer than smoking a regular cigarette.

“It is absolutely not safer than smoking, that is a fallacy that adolescents believe because it tastes good. So, how could something that tastes good, that good be bad,” Blank Children’s Hospital Pediatrician Dr. Ken Cheyne said. “Just by smoking the electronic cigarette that you inhale small particles into your lungs, that there are carcinogens in them and there are heavy metals in them.”

Dr. Cheyne said more and more young adults admit to smoking JUULs. These small smoking devices kind of look like a flash drive, so it is easy to conceal and smoke indoors.

“Adolescents are using the electronic devices more frequently than they would perhaps use cigarettes,” Dr. Cheyne said.

He said just like second-hand cigarette smoke, there are also risks with second-hand vapor smoke like coughing, asthma attacks and ear infections to name just a few.

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