Youth use of e-cigarettes labeled as epidemic

Youth e-cigarette use in mid-Missouri

COLUMBIA, Mo. - The U.S. Surgeon General issued an advisory Tuesday morning warning parents about the dangers of young people using e-cigarettes. One in five high school students, and one in 20 middle school students use e-cigarettes, according to the advisory.

Although traditional tobacco cigarette use remains low, the surgeon general said the use of JUUL e-cigarettes is growing. A national study said many JUUL users, 63 percent, did not know the product always contains nicotine. 

The marketing of e-cigarettes with "kid-friendly flavors" can seem more appealing to young people, and the advisory warns some of the chemicals used to create the flavors have health risks.

The minimum age to purchase tobacco, vapor products and e-cigarettes is 21 years old in Columbia and Jefferson City, Missouri. However, people under the age of 21 can still legally possess and use the products in both cities.

Smoking and vaping is banned from indoor use in Columbia.

To cut down on young people using e-cigarettes, the Surgeon General's Office recommends more communities implement smoke-free indoor policies and restricting young people from getting  e-cigarettes through price policies and retail access.

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