E-Cigarette Use By Teens On the Rise - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

E-Cigarette Use By Teens On the Rise

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - More teenagers are turning to electronic cigarettes instead of the real deal. A study by the CDC shows it has more than doubled in just a year.

"Cigarettes really do taste bad, they smell bad," Melvin Herron said. "These don't have a smell. They don't leave a bad taste in your mouth."

Herron calls it an alternative to smoking. He's a co-owner of the Vape Shack, an electronic cigarette store in Odessa.The e-cigs are fairly new but their popularity is growing especially among teens.

A study done by the National Youth Tobacco Survey found in 2012 that more than $1.78 million middle and high school students nationwide had tried e-cigarettes. That number rose to ten percent from 4.7 percent back 2011.

But there's no age limit on who can buy the devices because they're are not regulated by the FDA. That's causing concern among health officials.

"What they are finding is they're not really sure what all chemicals are contained in them," Renato Galindo, with Medical Center Hospital, said. "Since there's no regulation, companies can put whatever they want in it and they can put however much nicotine they want."

Galindo said an e-cigarette could lead to an addiction even though some believe it's healthier than lighting up.

He also said it can contain more nicotine than a normal cigarette. Depending on how much, we're told it is possible to overdose.

Galindo said the variety of fruity and unique flavors of the e-cigarettes is what draws teens in.

"It's really appealing to them," Galindo said. "It tastes like a Jolly Rancher is what they say."

But Herron disagrees. He feels it's the look of the e-cig and it's availability online.

"Who's online more than anybody? Kids," Herron said. "So if a 14-year-old goes online and goes to one of these web sites that sells e-cigarettes, all they have to do is click a button."

Herron said he mainly sells his products to an older generation.

"You have a lot of the younger people smoking cigarettes and they haven't felt the adverse effects yet," he said. "Our age base is actually 45-70. It's the people that do want an alternative to smoking."

However he still enforces his own 18 and up policy but he said kids will be kids.

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