Austin Public Health calls on community to communicate dangers of e-cigarettes, advertising

FILE – In this April 23, 2014 file photo, a man smokes an electronic cigarette in Chicago. North Carolina’s top prosecutor expanded his efforts to halt e-cigarette sales to teens on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019, by suing eight more manufacturers of vaping products. Josh Stein, the Democratic attorney general in the traditionally tobacco-friendly state, said he is filing lawsuits against eight e-cigarette companies in an announcement timed to grab attention during the first week of school. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Public Health Department has launched a campaign about the dangers of e-cigarette use following 13 vaping-related illnesses in the Austin/Travis county area.

This comes after the 2018 Texas Youth Tobacco Survey revealed that nearly 33% of Texas high school students and 11% of middle school students reported using an e-cigarette.

The campaign aims to educate young adults, as well as parents of teens, as these are the target demographic of corporate advertising by e-cigarette companies, according to Austin Public Health. They also hope to educate parents on what these devices look like, as they can be mistaken for flash drives and common school supplies.

Austin Public Health urges families to view these videos as well as talk about the facts behind e-cigarettes.

According to Austin Public Health, the facts behind e-cigarettes are:

  • They are battery-operated and are designed to deliver flavorings, nicotine, and other chemicals through a vapor or aerosol-inhaled by the user. The vapor is not harmless.
  • Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is highly addictive. It can also harm adolescent brain development, which continues into early to mid-20s.
  • Diacetyl is a common ingredient in e-cigarette flavoring. It causes bronchiolitis obliterans, more commonly known as “popcorn lung.”
  • “Popcorn lung” is the scarring of tiny air sacs in the lungs. It causes thickening and narrowing of airways, which can lead to wheezing and shortness of breath.
  • The long term health consequences of vaping and e-cigarette use are not known, and are not approved to help quit smoking.
  • Defective e-cigarette batteries have caused fires and explosions, which have resulted in serious injuries and death in some cases.
  • There is a reported increase in the number of e-cigarette and liquid nicotine poison control cases.

Austin Public Health recommends continued avoidance of e-cigarette use while national investigations continue into the causes behind the illnesses reported.

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