With rising health concerns over teens and vaping, Michigan has become the first state to ban the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes.
In many cases they aren’t even old enough to drive, but thousands of teens have gotten their hands on e-cigarettes. Harrison County School District Counselor Lee Bosarge said, “In my opinion, it has become almost an epidemic because there is a big increase in the number of kids who are doing the vaping and the e-cigarettes and all of that kind of stuff.”
Bosarge says many teens aren’t aware of the serious risks that vaping has. “The tobacco companies are targeting kids by making them readily available, putting them in flavors that kids enjoy and then they market it as safe so the kids then think it’s a safe thing to do.”
Eighteen-year-old Adam Hergenreder had to learn the hard way about the dangers of vaping. “My lungs feel like they’re being crushed by 20 pounds.”
It will likely take this Illinois teen months to recover fully after spending more than a year vaping. “I’m 18 years old and my lungs are like a 70-year-old’s.”
Michigan has become the first state to ban sales of flavored e-cigarettes, a move that the governor of the state says will curb teen vaping. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said, “Eighty-one percent of kids that are vaping started with some sort of flavored vape. This is a health crisis that we are confronting and it would never be permitted if it were cigarettes, but we are letting these companies target our kids and appeal to our kids and deceive our children and they are showing up with respiratory illness that no one can explain.”
But not everyone thinks that the use of flavored e-cigarettes is negative. The folks over at ‘No Smoke about it’ Vape Shop say that there are some positives to vaping. Manager Curtis Felsher said, “If you are not currently smoking or vaping, we are not trying to get you to start vaping if you don’t have a nicotine addiction already, there is no point in starting one. It is a habit I don’t recommend anyone to have. We are just trying to get people to quit smoking with a better alternative.”
Felsher feels that the vaping industry is being unfairly targeted for the flavors used in their products. “Just like alcohol and tobacco, all of it has flavorings, why isn’t this stuff being targeted, just us?”
Officials say it is important to start talking to your teens about the risks of vaping, regardless if you think they are using the products.