Measures put in place to prevent underage use of e-cigarettes

Measures put in place to prevent underage use of e-cigarettes

D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - The use of e-cigarettes continues to rise and, according to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more young people are being exposed to direct e-cigarette advertising.

Although the use of e-cigarettes or vapors is widely seen as a healthier alternative to traditional smoking, the owner of GC Vapors in D'Iberville, Mark Lafontaine, understands why young people shouldn't use his products.

"People under 18 just don't have, I would say, the proper judgment and use of the devices that e-cigs have," said Lafontaine.

E-cigarettes may not be intended for minors, but a recent CDC study reported nearly 70 percent of all middle and high school students are exposed to some kind of e-cigarette promotions.

Even with that statistic, Lafontaine said his marketing strategy isn't designed to attract people under the age of 18.

"Children aren't my demographic," said Lafontaine. "There are state laws that prohibit me from selling this product to anyone under the age of 18."

At his store, Lafontaine has measures in place to keep the vapes out of the hands of children.

"They can't use any of the products, sample any of the products, or even handle it," said Lafontaine.

James Murff uses e-cigarettes and has a 17-year-old daughter. From what he's observed, even if his daughter sees an ad promoting vapors, he doesn't think it would be targeted directly at her.

"I don't really see it marketed toward children," said Murff. "I see it marketed toward cigarette smokers."

Hundreds of vapor flavors are available for e-cigarettes. While some say sweet flavors are targeting teenagers, Lafontaine explained the variety of flavors has a purpose especially for those who have quit smoking.

"After using a vapor product for a while, it's called numb tongue," said Lafontaine. "You start to lose the flavoring to it, so you need to jump to a different flavor so the product will continue working for you."

Congress passed a bill to require the e-cigarette liquid flavors to come in child-resistant packaging, the bill is awaiting the president's signature.

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