Keiki falling prey to e-cigs
Sadly, we are losing ground in the fight to protect our keiki from a potential lifetime addiction to tobacco. The latest Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Youth Risk Behavior Survey data released this month shows a 5% increase in current e-cigarette use among high school students in Hawai’i. State lawmakers had a chance to pass legislation to halt the sale of flavored tobacco products this year but unfortunately chose not to take action.
I’m a volunteer with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and I’m concerned about the rising rates of e-cigarette use among our keiki. E-cigarette use among our youth is some of the highest in the nation, and more so in rural communities like Kaua’i. Popular flavors such as “Maui mango” and “Mystic menthol” are driving the use of these tobacco products that easily trap kids into addiction. Some health detriments of using e-cigarettes include respiratory issues like bronchiolitis obliterans or popcorn lung.
We need to address the youth e-cigarette epidemic here on our island. Please contact our local lawmakers and tell them we must STOP the sale of all flavors in all tobacco products, including menthol. They may have lost the chance this year, but let’s not waste an opportunity to protect our keiki next session!
Uri Martos, State Lead Ambassador – American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Lihue