Hearing to focus on teen vaping ‘epidemic’

DENVER -- Colorado is ranked as one of the healthiest states in the nation, yet new studies show teens here use e-cigarettes at an alarming rate, twice as much as teens in any other state.

A recent Healthy Kids Colorado survey reveals while only seven percent of high school students smoke cigarettes, 27 percent say they have vaped nicotine.

Dr. Heather Hoch of Children's Hospital Colorado tells FOX31, “We're creating this generation of nicotine addicted kids.”

Hoch emphasizes that the FDA has called vaping a teen epidemic and action must be taken right away to spare a generation of teens serious health consequences.

Children's Hospital Colorado is part of a bipartisan effort to update the state’s Clean Indoor Air Act. The measure calls for E-cigarettes to be banned in indoor public places.

Dr. Hoch says normalizing the use of E-cigarettes sends the wrong message to teens who may be unaware of the long term effects of vaping, “one of those pods contains as much nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes and we have kids using one two or even three of these in a given day.”

Dr. Hoch explains that vaping can be a gateway to other dangerous habits, “adolescent brains are particularly susceptible to the effects of nicotine and the addiction that comes along with that. The Rocky Mountain Smoke-Free Alliance provided a statement to FOX31 saying underage kids, “ ...get them from parents, relatives and friends who are of legal age, or they purchase them online from sites that do not verify age."

The Alliance also explains, “Specialty vape stores verify age of anyone under 27, as mandated by FDA regulations. Vape stores also prevent straw purchases, by not allowing a customer to buy more than a reasonable amount of products. Local vape stores in general don't allow minors to enter, though some allow them to accompany an adult, but the adult cannot make a purchase unless a parent or legal guardian.”

John Bond, owner of The Bong Shop in Aurora says vaping has it’s benefits for adults, “it's helping people to quit smoking.”, but as a father of underage teens he too has concerns and strictly monitors his children’s activities, “what it takes most is responsibility from parents.”

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