Vaping flavors could be ‘clouding’ judgment of young smokers

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WBRE 28/WYOU 22 EYEWITNESS NEWS — The CDC estimates 1 in 13 children in America will die from a smoking related illness if tobacco use continues at its current rate.

Much debate remains over vaping and how new flavors and advertising are targeting the next generation.

“Nicotine, no matter what form it’s in, is highly addictive. It’s the quickest addicting drug in the world believe it or not. It’s not heroin, not alcohol, not marijuana. Nicotine,” explained prevention education specialist Stefanie Wolownik.

Vaping, an easier and more convenient alternative to smoking cigarettes.

“The accessibly is extremely easy. You can walk into basically any mini-mart, Turkey Hill, etc. And get it fairly cheap,” said Jason Harlen, CEO of Wyoming Valley Drug and Alcohol Services Inc.

“One of those Juul pods is equal to a pack of cigarettes. A pack of cigarettes is $8.09 and a Juul pod is $5,” said Wolonik.

Wolownik says though it may seem cheaper, it really isn’t. The convenience of a vape allows you to smoke it more often, meaning you go through many more pods than you would packs of cigarettes.

“The tobacco industry, between losing people to death and losing new smokers, they weren’t replacing the ones who died off. Now, kids who never would think of smoking are using vapes instead,” she told Eyewitness News.

These are just a few of the vapes confiscated from students right here in NEPA… Students as young as in third grade.

“If vaping was truly an apprentice to quitting smoking, there wouldn’t be flavors because cigarette smokers like the flavor of tobacco,” Wolownik explained.

She says your best bet is to stay away from it entirely.

This week, Juul labs agreed to pay North Carolina $40 million and change its business practices in the state. Under that agreement, Juul will no longer be able to target minors in its advertising — or use anyone younger than 35 years old to promote its products.

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