LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Kentucky students led a community conversation with Mayor Greg Fischer and several expert panelists about the epidemic of e-cigarette use, or vaping among youth Wednesday at the DuPont Manual High School Auditorium.

Students shared what they experienced daily in school and in their social circles during the meeting. The presentations also included an up-close look at the vaping products available on the market today and how they are marketed to kids.

The meeting ended with a question and answer session on the immediate and longer-term steps that local groups can take to protect kids’ health.

More than one in four high school seniors and one in seven 8th graders in Kentucky used e-cigarettes in 2018, according to the Kentucky Incentives for Prevention survey. Those were about double the rates from back in 2016.

Beyond the high nicotine levels in e-cigarettes that can damage the developing brains of teens and young adults, research also shows that teen e-cig users are more likely to start smoking regular cigarettes.

Why are e-cigarettes unsafe for kids, teens and young adults?

  • Nicotine can harm the developing adolescent brain.
  • E-cigarettes contain nicotine.
  • Nicotine addiction that occurs with e-cigarette use may lead to transition to use of combustible tobacco products.
  • Addiction itself, whether to nicotine or other drugs, can drive undesirable behaviors.

What can parents do?

  • Do not use any tobacco products.
  • Talk with your kids about the dangers of smoking and the importance of avoiding any tobacco use.
  • Educate your kids that e-cigarettes contain nicotine, a highly addictive substance.
  • Advocate for comprehensive tobacco prevention policies.