Doctors say local teen e-cigarette use on the rise

Doctors say local teen e-cigarette use on the rise

YAKIMA, Wash. -- With the FDA ordering the e-cigarette industry to come up with a plan to prevent underage vaping in 60 days, or risk having their flavored products pulled off the shelves, the owner of Smokeits Smokeshop in Yakima says it makes him nervous.

He says a move like that would definitely impact his business, but he says flavor has nothing to do with kids getting their hands on e-cigarettes or vapes.

"They're doing it for the nicotine. They're doing it for the nicotine high, the nicotine buzz. They're not doing it because it tastes good, or this or that. They're doing it to get that nicotine feeling," said owner Brandon Matthews.

He says the fact that teens are able to get their hands on these products isn’t the e-cigarette industry’s responsibility, but their parents.

"That’s why they market candy, because flavors are appealing to kids, but flavors are appealing to anybody, whether kids or adults. It's up to adults to regulate what their kids are doing, it's not really up to the companies that are making products to regulate what kids are doing," said Matthews.

Dr. Aaron Grigg with the Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic says he’s seen an increase in teens using e-cigarettes, and he agrees with the FDA when they say it’s become an epidemic.

"I have had teens telling me that they are vaping. And that is one of the things that we’re seeing as a nationwide trend. So, about three percent of middle schoolers are admitting to using within the last 30 days, and 12 percent of high school students," he said.

In addition to nicotine, Grigg says there’s more chemicals found in e-cigarettes that are concerning to him.

"Antifreeze, formaldehyde, lead, arsenic; there's a whole list of chemicals that are in there that when you're vaping, those are also being inhaled into your lungs," he said.

Grigg says because of this, anyone who smokes e-cigarettes puts themselves at risk of developing lung and brain problems and addiction.

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