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

3 years 10 months 3 weeks ago Thursday, February 25 2016 Feb 25, 2016 Thursday, February 25, 2016 10:27:00 PM CST February 25, 2016 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
FULTON - Inspirational speaker and former Minor League Baseball outfielder Chris Singleton, who lost his mother in a shooting at... More >>
3 hours ago Saturday, January 18 2020 Jan 18, 2020 Saturday, January 18, 2020 9:01:00 AM CST January 18, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA – The city of Columbia reporter hundreds of residents were without power Friday afternoon in east central Columbia, in... More >>
18 hours ago Friday, January 17 2020 Jan 17, 2020 Friday, January 17, 2020 6:03:00 PM CST January 17, 2020 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Former Walmart Inc. chief executive David Glass, who owned the Kansas City Royals for nearly... More >>
18 hours ago Friday, January 17 2020 Jan 17, 2020 Friday, January 17, 2020 5:24:21 PM CST January 17, 2020 in News
MID-MISSOURI - Another week in January, and another winter storm. This time around it will likely all happen in one... More >>
19 hours ago Friday, January 17 2020 Jan 17, 2020 Friday, January 17, 2020 4:46:00 PM CST January 17, 2020 in Weather
COLUMBIA- The Columbia Fire Department is reminding residents to make sure their home is safe during these cold temperatures. ... More >>
20 hours ago Friday, January 17 2020 Jan 17, 2020 Friday, January 17, 2020 4:03:00 PM CST January 17, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Boone Hospital Center will hold a job fair specifically for former employees of Pinnacle Hospital on Tuesday. The... More >>
20 hours ago Friday, January 17 2020 Jan 17, 2020 Friday, January 17, 2020 3:12:00 PM CST January 17, 2020 in News
FULTON - Police took one suspect into custody after responding Friday afternoon to a burglary in progress call near W... More >>
21 hours ago Friday, January 17 2020 Jan 17, 2020 Friday, January 17, 2020 3:05:00 PM CST January 17, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The last flight to land at Columbia Regional Airport Friday touched down at 10:00 a.m. Those departing the... More >>
21 hours ago Friday, January 17 2020 Jan 17, 2020 Friday, January 17, 2020 2:52:00 PM CST January 17, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Sleet and freezing rain hit across mid-Missouri throughout the day Friday. Jefferson City Public Works director... More >>
21 hours ago Friday, January 17 2020 Jan 17, 2020 Friday, January 17, 2020 2:52:00 PM CST January 17, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The city of Columbia is reporting more than 1,000 people are without power in east central Columbia, in... More >>
21 hours ago Friday, January 17 2020 Jan 17, 2020 Friday, January 17, 2020 2:26:12 PM CST January 17, 2020 in News
FULTON - Officers took two suspects into custody after investigating a report of a stolen package in the residential area... More >>
22 hours ago Friday, January 17 2020 Jan 17, 2020 Friday, January 17, 2020 2:03:00 PM CST January 17, 2020 in News
MONTGOMERY COUNTY - Two people have been arrested and charged in connection with the 2017 death of Benjamin Renick. ... More >>
1 day ago Friday, January 17 2020 Jan 17, 2020 Friday, January 17, 2020 12:03:00 PM CST January 17, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - With colder temperatures expected to arrive in mid-Missouri, shelters are preparing to care for those in need. ... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, January 16 2020 Jan 16, 2020 Thursday, January 16, 2020 6:27:00 PM CST January 16, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - One Missouri lawmaker's bill could create new curriculum for schools in the state. House Bill 2153, sponsored... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, January 16 2020 Jan 16, 2020 Thursday, January 16, 2020 5:21:00 PM CST January 16, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said Thursday that he plans to fight efforts to expand the number... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, January 16 2020 Jan 16, 2020 Thursday, January 16, 2020 4:06:00 PM CST January 16, 2020 in News
NEW FRANKLIN — In a Facebook post Wednesday afternoon, New Franklin police chief Mike Wise announced plans to step down.... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, January 16 2020 Jan 16, 2020 Thursday, January 16, 2020 2:14:00 PM CST January 16, 2020 in News
BOONVILLE - The announcement of Pinnacle Regional Hospital's closing came suddenly this week, even catching residents off guard who expected... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, January 16 2020 Jan 16, 2020 Thursday, January 16, 2020 1:57:00 PM CST January 16, 2020 in News
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House violated federal law in withholding security assistance to Ukraine, an action at the... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, January 16 2020 Jan 16, 2020 Thursday, January 16, 2020 12:35:15 PM CST January 16, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 30°
1pm 27°
2pm 28°
3pm 28°
4pm 27°