Vape companies target youth with candy-like packaging. (Emily Collins)
As kids head back to school, the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) is warning parents about vaping.
From devices resembling highlighters and flash drives, to liquid nicotine packaged to look like candy and fruit juice, vaping companies are adopting deceptive and damaging marketing practices.
TSET Executive Director John Woods says these harmful tactics are working.
“About 19 percent of youth in Oklahoma have used a vape product over the past 30 days; self-identified,” Woods said. “So probably even higher.”
The good news is that smoking rates have declined.
However, unlike smoking cigarettes, little is known about the long-term health effects of vaping.
Still, Woods said parents should be aware of the potential dangers.
“They need to one be familiar with what the products look like,” he said. “You know you’re not looking for a pack of cigarettes, you’re looking for something that’s a little more high tech.”
Parents should also familiarize themselves with the lingo. E-cigarettes or vapes are also commonly referred to as Mods, E-hookahs or JUULs.
Signs of usage include artificially sweet smells, nosebleeds, increased thirst and caffeine sensitivity.
Oklahoma law prohibits the sale of vape products to anyone under the age of 18, but they’re still easily accessible.
“Certainly, they can get it from their peers,” Woods said.” And it’s available online and online with really no substantial checks to their age.”
The more parents educate themselves about e-cigarettes, the less likely their children are to use them.
Start the conversation and keep it going.