Gov. Steve Bullock has asked the Montana public health authorities to invoke an emergency ban on flavored e-cigarette products. As a pediatrician, in my opinion, this couldn’t come soon enough. I see teens and pre-teens in my office daily who are using e-cigarettes daily, and have become addicted.
These devices have been irresponsibly and misleadingly marketed to our kids. With flavors like bubble gum, gummy bear, and cotton candy, the tobacco companies take aim at hooking a whole new generation on nicotine, undoing two decades of progress at reducing teen smoking. Kids who start vaping are more likely to smoke cigarettes later. And tobacco companies’ arguments that vaping is safer than smoking are entirely hollow: We are hooking kids on something with a known addictive substance that impairs brain development (nicotine), known carcinogens in the vapor, and with a known association with severe lung disease. These are anything but safe.
Thank you to the governor for taking action. Now, it’s time to call on the FDA to examine these e-cigarettes more closely, and follow through on President Donald Trump’s suggested national ban. These are harming our kids. We need to wake up, and take action.
John Cole, MD
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