Anti-drug group works to educate community about "risks" of e-ci - FOX Carolina 21

Anti-drug group works to educate community about "risks" of e-cigs

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A man smokes an electronic cigarette (FILE: FOX Carolina) A man smokes an electronic cigarette (FILE: FOX Carolina)

The Greenville County Safe Communities Coalition's monthly meeting Thursday focused on educating local leaders about electronic cigarettes. Terry Taylor, manager of Tobacco Education and Prevention with Greenville Family Partnership, presented at the meeting in which he said he would like to see children learning about the risks associated with e-cigarettes. Ads for e-cigs are often aimed at young people. 

"Some very provocative advertisements," Taylor said in his presentation to local law enforcement, an official with Trey Gowdy's office and others. 

The United States Surgeon General reports a rising number of middle and high school kids are pickup up e-cigarettes and vaping them instead of smoking traditional tobacco. E-cigarettes vaporize a liquid mixed with nicotine. Levels of nicotine can vary in each e-cigarette, but the worry is these contraptions are still getting children addicted to nicotine.

Other risks include being burned, discovered after several cases of exploding e-cigarettes, and inhalation of harmful by-products.

"The [metal coil inside] can be vaporized into what the person is breathing in. That is a problem with putting metallic isotopes in your lungs," said Taylor. 

The Food and Drug Administration regulates e-cigarettes just like real tobacco, restricting retailers from selling to children under 18. Worried anti-drug advocates said kids still are getting their hands on these devices at an alarming rate. 

E-cig retailers said they work hard to enforce the FDA's age regulation. 

"We are all for keeping electronic cigarettes out of the hands of children," said Ashton Craig-Parlier, owner of Carolina Vapor Mill on Woodruff Road. He said children are not allowed near the selling point inside the store, even if they are with an adult. Still, he said too much government regulation hurts business. 

Many argue e-cigarettes are a good alternative to cigarettes, tobacco and other products. Some claim e-cigarettes reduced or eradicated the urge to smoke and inhale nicotine. 

Anti-drug advocates in Greenville hope meetings like the one Thursday will open the door for more conversations with kids about what they call the risks associated with e-cigarettes. 

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