Winona Community Learns About the Dangers of e-Cigarettes for Youth
Minnesota teens are using e-cigarettes and vapes at alarming rates, exposing themselves to the harms of nicotine and risking addition.
Thirty-two members of the Winona community gathered on Oct, 22 to learn about the dangers of these products for teens and what communities can do to help reduce their use.
Liz Heimer, a Tobacco Specialist with the American Lung Association, led the presentation, which introduced the newest and most innovative tobacco products and technologies marketed at youth. Attendees held each of the tobacco products and concealing items as part of the learning process. The presentation was hosted by Winona County PartnerSHIP, the local Statewide Health Improvement Partnership grantee.
Tobacco is still the leading cause of preventable death and disease. It is also the only legal consumer product on the market that, if used as intended, will kill half of its long-term users. Nearly 90 percent of lifelong smokers start before the age of 18.
Unfortunately, Minnesota youth tobacco use has increased for the first time in 17 years, due in part to new and innovative products, like e-cigarettes. Youth are targeted with appealing packaging, attractive advertising, flavored products, affordable prices, and comfortable consumption due to chemicals that remove the harshness of smoking. Nicotine is not only highly addictive, it has been shown to harm adolescent brain development, and may prime the teen brain for future addiction to tobacco and other substances.
“I never realized how big of a problem that this actually was, especially the JUUL, with kids. Great educational experience,” said one attendee.
“I loved seeing the actual products and the products available that can ‘hide’ the vaping products,” said another attendee.
The recorded presentation can be viewed at http://winonacountypartnership.com/tobacco-free-living/