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Kicking E-Cigarettes Urged as New Year’s Resolution

In a 2018 survey, nearly one in five high school students, and 6% of middle-school students, said they used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days. Photo: Pixabay

by Eric Galatas

AUSTIN, Texas – Several fatal incidents linked to e-cigarette use made headlines in 2019, and health advocates are hoping young people in Texas and across the United States will consider making a New Year’s resolution to kick the habit.

Marina Hench, senior government relations director for the Texas chapter of the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network, said it’s never too late to stop vaping or smoking, and making a New Year’s resolution would be a good first step.

“People need help in quitting,” she said. “It’s an addictive substance, and can be a challenge, and so having support is really important from family, from friends.”

Hench said state and federal governments also can do more to help young people kick the habit and stop tobacco companies from recruiting new users. E-cigarette companies have said the product is not intended for kids, and that they primarily market vaping to people trying to stop smoking traditional cigarettes.

According to Texas’ health department, e-cigarettes have been the most popular tobacco product for minors since 2014. Hench said it’s clear the industry has had success targeting young people, in part by flavoring tobacco in ways that appeal to youths, from bubble gum to cotton candy and blueberries.

“We have seen evidence that the tobacco industry is marketing e-cigarettes to youths,” she said, “in the way that they’ve used social media, the way they’ve used public events and free giveaways.”

Hench noted that Texas lawmakers are considering raising taxes on e-cigarettes, one of the most effective ways to reduce smoking and other tobacco use, especially among young people. She said the state also can fund evidence-based prevention and cessation programs to help people quit, and stop people from getting hooked in the first place.

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