TARGET 8: E-cigarettes the "new normal" for local teens

1 year 3 weeks 6 days ago February 25, 2016 Feb 25, 2016 Thursday, February 25 2016 Thursday, February 25, 2016 10:27:00 PM CST in News
By: Stephanie Sierra, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - The growing popularity of e-cigarettes has some teens saying they'll do whatever it takes to "get the high", even if it means bringing them to the classroom.

The problem: Access at school and online.

A group of students, who wanted to remain anonymous, spoke up about how e-cigarette use is the "new normal" and "something they see everyday."

"It's not really a policy that is enforced in school so people get away with it," said a local Hickman High School student.

Another student said, "An e-cig or a vap you can't smell it so it's easy to do in the hallways or in the bathroom."

Columbia recently increased the age requirement to 21 to purchase tobacco products. But, local teens told KOMU 8 News: "it's just as simple as asking an older sibling for it or going online." 

When putting "e-cig" into Google, the first link that loads is a website that has e-cigarettes for sale. The website only requires a "click" to verify a user is over 18. Then once, on the site the customer can purchase any tobacco or vapor product and have it delivered within 24 hours.

E-cig use has skyrocketed among teens state-wide

The 2015 Missouri Youth and Tobacco Survey found cigarette use among teens declined from 2005 to 2013 but then skyrocketed in the last two years when the survey included e-cigarettes and vapor products.

In 2013, the survey found 31.8 percent of high school students reported they used any form of tobacco. However, in 2015, the number jumped to 53 percent of high schoolers using tobacco products that included vapor products.

The survey also found that 40 percent of high school students admitted to trying a vapor product at least once and 22 percent currently use vapor products.

Can e-cigs be addictive? Experts say yes

Kourosh Mobl used to be an avid e-cig user but stopped shortly after realizing the effects are considered harmful.

"It's not how they think it is. It is still the same as smoking a cigarette," Mobl said. "You still can be addicted to it."

Mobl said, in his high school days, a close friend of his got addicted.

"He didn't realize it was actually because of how much nicotine he put in, which is why he wanted more and more," Mobl said.

He sadi his friend would spend close to $100 a week just on various tools for the e-cigs.

Are e-cigs the "healthy alternative" to smoking?

KOMU 8 News reached out to a number of current teen e-cigarette users who say they always thought e-cigs were the "healthy alternative" to smoking traditional cigarettes.

A scientific study that was released late last year researched the effects of e-cigarette use in comparison to typical Marlborough and Camel products.

The study, done by the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, found that e-cigarette use is not a healthy alternative to cigarettes. Researchers also found no evidence to support the theory that there is actual "health benefits" from e-cigs that would help curb cigarette use.

A research hospital, University of California San Francisco, came out with a similar study a few weeks ago. The study found that vapor products are 28 percent less likely to stop current smokers from using other tobacco products.

What needs to be done?

Based on his experience, Mobl said, "There needs to be more education on the actual effects of e-cigs, so kids stop thinking it's both 'healthy' and 'cool' to do."

Boone County health officials said they had high hopes that their numbers will be lower than the state data because of the age restriction that has been enforced in Columbia. 

However, local health officials did identify it has been a problem in the past and said they won't be surprised if they still have 'more work to do.'"

"It is definitely something we want to curb," said Michelle Shikles, public health promotion supervisor for Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services. "Kids are using e-cigarette's as a way to start using tobacco products."

Shikles said that the department's approach would include: encouraging parents to be more educated on prevention strategies, as well as more education in schools on the harmful effects e-cigs can have.

"Nicotine is harmful no matter if you're getting it from a cigarette or an electronic cigarette," Shikles said. "Nicotine affects the brains of our youth and that's what we want to prevent."

Columbia Public School's Current Tobacco Policy

Columbia Public Schools have a specific policy addressing how e-cigarette and tobacco use is prohibited on school property and school-sponsored events.

 

More News

Grid
List
FORISTELL (AP) — Authorities said two New York women who were arrested in eastern Missouri after jumping out a second-story... More >>
5 minutes ago March 24, 2017 Mar 24, 2017 Friday, March 24 2017 Friday, March 24, 2017 11:00:11 AM CDT in News
SEDALIA - A fatal car crash left one woman dead and a toddler injured Thursday night, according to a Missouri... More >>
1 hour ago March 24, 2017 Mar 24, 2017 Friday, March 24 2017 Friday, March 24, 2017 9:22:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Police arrested a man following an armed robbery at Pickleman's Deli on Old 63 early Friday. Officers... More >>
2 hours ago March 24, 2017 Mar 24, 2017 Friday, March 24 2017 Friday, March 24, 2017 8:52:00 AM CDT in News
CLAYTON (AP) — A suburban St. Louis mother has been convicted of poisoning her son with prescription medications and keeping... More >>
2 hours ago March 24, 2017 Mar 24, 2017 Friday, March 24 2017 Friday, March 24, 2017 8:21:50 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Former U.S. Marine Eric Olson is used to brotherhood in service. Now he has formed a different kind... More >>
3 hours ago March 24, 2017 Mar 24, 2017 Friday, March 24 2017 Friday, March 24, 2017 7:09:34 AM CDT in Top Stories
FLORISSANT (AP) — Authorities are looking for a driver who struck and killed a pedestrian before fleeing in St. Louis... More >>
4 hours ago March 24, 2017 Mar 24, 2017 Friday, March 24 2017 Friday, March 24, 2017 6:50:00 AM CDT in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — A former southwestern Missouri high school teacher has admitted in federal court that he downloaded child pornography... More >>
4 hours ago March 24, 2017 Mar 24, 2017 Friday, March 24 2017 Friday, March 24, 2017 6:46:09 AM CDT in News
CENTERVIEW (AP) — Authorities say a riot inside a western Missouri jail pod has been squelched. The... More >>
5 hours ago March 24, 2017 Mar 24, 2017 Friday, March 24 2017 Friday, March 24, 2017 5:40:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - In honor of Women's History Month, the Harry S. Truman Memorial Verterans' Hospital is recognizing the achievements of... More >>
7 hours ago March 24, 2017 Mar 24, 2017 Friday, March 24 2017 Friday, March 24, 2017 3:21:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Chamber of Commerce hosted a forum for the Columbia Public School's school board and Boone Hospital... More >>
15 hours ago March 23, 2017 Mar 23, 2017 Thursday, March 23 2017 Thursday, March 23, 2017 7:54:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is backing a contested health care overhaul proposed in the U.S. House.... More >>
16 hours ago March 23, 2017 Mar 23, 2017 Thursday, March 23 2017 Thursday, March 23, 2017 6:23:27 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - As students and families are preparing to go on spring break trips, the Columbia/Boone County Public Health and... More >>
17 hours ago March 23, 2017 Mar 23, 2017 Thursday, March 23 2017 Thursday, March 23, 2017 5:52:00 PM CDT in News
CAMDEN COUNTY - A confrontation between neighbors ended with a man shooting two dogs, the Camden County Sheriff's Office said.... More >>
17 hours ago March 23, 2017 Mar 23, 2017 Thursday, March 23 2017 Thursday, March 23, 2017 5:44:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Lincoln University's president, Kevin D. Rome, will resign effective June 30 and the next day take over... More >>
18 hours ago March 23, 2017 Mar 23, 2017 Thursday, March 23 2017 Thursday, March 23, 2017 5:03:00 PM CDT in News
ST. CLAIR (AP) — Firefighters who put out a blaze in an eastern Missouri woode d area found a man's... More >>
18 hours ago March 23, 2017 Mar 23, 2017 Thursday, March 23 2017 Thursday, March 23, 2017 4:08:16 PM CDT in News
CAMDEN COUNTY - A man who investigators say sexually assaulted a 14-year-old female victim on Monday has been charged with... More >>
19 hours ago March 23, 2017 Mar 23, 2017 Thursday, March 23 2017 Thursday, March 23, 2017 3:42:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A federal court convicted a Columbia man on charges related to child pornography and sexual exploitation of... More >>
19 hours ago March 23, 2017 Mar 23, 2017 Thursday, March 23 2017 Thursday, March 23, 2017 3:08:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - A packed audience learned about the connection between obesity and sleep problems Thursday in the Monsanto Auditorium at... More >>
20 hours ago March 23, 2017 Mar 23, 2017 Thursday, March 23 2017 Thursday, March 23, 2017 2:36:00 PM CDT in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 72°
11am 67°
12pm 70°
1pm 73°
2pm 75°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

11:00a
Rachael Ray
12:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Noon
12:30p
Inside Edition
11:00a
Jerry Springer
12:00p
Jerry Springer
1:00p
Maury

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
Grimm
8:00p
Dateline NBC
9:00p
Dateline NBC
7:00p
The Originals
8:00p
Reign
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld