Officials in the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department say they are concerned with the rapid rise of e-cigarette usage among the younger aged people and are very troubled about what they say is vast amounts of misinformation about e-cigarettes.
Their concern stems mainly from the results of the 2014 Washington Healthy Youth Survey which showed e-cigarette usage among 10th graders in Pierce County to be similar to the rate of marijuana usage, at around 20%, which is alarmingly double than the number of youths of that age smoking regular cigarettes.
Encouraging consumers to proceed with caution with regards to the use of e-cigarettes, the Department points to the fact that they are a relatively new technology and as such much about it remains untested, unproven and unregulated, meaning that no standards currently exist for clear labeling of what e-cigarettes contain, which could potentially include toxic chemicals, despite the fact that they are regularly presented as a way to avoid the negative health effects of smoking regular cigarettes.
Although under the current law those under 18 are prohibited from purchasing e-cigarette products, due to inadequate funding enforcement is poor and thus many stores are actually selling these products regardless of a buyer’s age. The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department officials are concerned because they see an effort by stores and manufacturers of e-cigarettes to convey the message that such products are cool and safe, when they are not because “nicotine is addictive, and e-cigarettes are nicotine-delivery vehicles.”
Moreover, they also highlight that “People who start using nicotine products when they are young are likely to become addicted for life, and tobacco companies are cultivating a sustainable market for their product.”