Local News

Apr 18, 2014 7:34 AM by Miranda Leah - @MirandaLeahKRIS

Uproar Over E-Cig Companies Targeting Teens

CORPUS CHRISTI - E-cigarettes companies need to stop targeting our kids. That's the outcry of parents, organizations, and lawmakers across the country.

The companies are promoting e-cigs at games, giving samples at concerts, and playing TV commercials when they know our teens are watching. For teens here in Corpus Christi, all that advertisement is working.

"They target a lot of teenagers, and it's one of the big things here in Corpus."

18-year-old Preston Gonzales said teen-ages are more tempted to try e-cigs, because they're marketed toward them with flavors like cherry crush, chocolate treat, and bubblegum.

He said he's tried them before, and has many friends that smoke them. "A lot of teenagers don't know what to try, they're curious," he said. "They want to try the new certain things."

The spokesperson for the Tobacco Prevention and Control Coalition, Melissa Hofstetter, said it's obvious that those advertisements are working.

"We go into high schools and do presentations on different things," she said. "The first question they always ask us is about e-cigarettes, they want to know, are they safe."

For Hofstetter, the answer is no. Nicotine is the number one most addictive substance, and the liquid nicotine, if swallowed, is extremely poisonous.

The CDC just released a study saying that e-cigarette poisonings have skyrocketed, especially for children under the age of five.

"They touch it, they inhale it, they ingest it," said Hofstetter. "Because, they taste like candy."

She said the FDA needs to speak out against these e-cigs, before more kids get addicted.

"This is serious, this is nicotine, these are dangerous," said Hofstetter. "I think once the FDA gets involved it will be easier for us to combat the problem."

The TPCC isn't the only group calling for action. A a coalition of lawmakers just released a report asking for more regulations on the almost two-billion dollar industry.

The report said because these e-cigs aren't technically cigarettes, advertisers have a loophole to target teens.

Many parents are saying now is the time to push for our lawmakers to change that.

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