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E-cigarettes and Montana’s Kids

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 11, 2017

Contact:  Jon Ebelt, Public Information Officer, DPHHS, (406) 444-0936

                 Chuck Council, Communications Specialist, DPHHS, (406) 444-4391

 

E-cigarettes and Montana’s Kids: Missoula, Helena to host community forums

More than 50 percent of Montana’s high school youth have tried e-cigs;
Local forums will discuss how kids are targeted and the risks to their health

 

MISSOULA & HELENA – Two community forums held in Missoula and Helena will discuss the health dangers of e-cigarettes and flavored tobacco on Montana’s youth.

The Missoula forum will take place on May 17 at 7 p.m. at the Sentinel High School Auditorium, 901 South Ave. West.

The Helena forum is slated for May 18 at 7 p.m. at Capital High School Auditorium, 100 Valley Drive. The free, public forums are intended for parents and other adult community members.

E-cigarettes are now the most commonly used tobacco product among Montana’s youth. The most recent Montana Youth Risk Behavior Survey, a survey of a representative sample of Montana high school students, shows that more than half of Montana high schoolers have tried e-cigarettes and 30 percent are using them regularly.

These numbers are higher than the national average and are concerning to parents and the community at large.

Participants in the Missoula forum will include:

  • Kathy Rogers, MD., of Missoula.
  • Kris Minard, Tobacco Use Prevention Education Specialist, Montana Office of Public Instruction.
  • Nicole Aune, MPH, Program Manager, Montana Tobacco Use Prevention Program, DPHHS.
  • Amanda Cahill, ACM, MSW, Government Relations Director, American Heart Association | American Stroke Association.

Participants in the Helena forum will include:

  • Robert M. Shepard, M.D., of Helena.
  • Kris Minard, Tobacco Use Prevention Education Specialist, Montana Office of Public Instruction.
  • Sarah Shapiro, Tobacco Prevention Health Educator, Lewis and Clark Public Health.
  • Nicole Aune, MPH, Program Manager, Montana Tobacco Use Prevention Program, DPHHS.

Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, a very addictive substance. Nicotine, in any form, is unsafe for youth because it can harm their developing brains.

Additionally, e-cigarettes contain lithium batteries that have exploded. These explosions have caused fires, and even resulted in severe personal injury.

While e-cigarettes are often presented as an alternative to conventional tobacco, research has found that youth who use e-cigarettes are more likely to go on to use other tobacco products like cigarettes.

E-cigarettes are marketed using the same tactics once used to get kids to start smoking regular cigarettes. These include candy-style packaging, sweet flavors, prominent placement in convenience stores, and slick advertisements on TV, billboards and radio.

E-cigarettes can be found in over 7,700 flavors targeted at youth, like cotton candy, root beer float and bubblegum. Studies show 70 percent of children visit convenience stores weekly, and nine out of 10 smokers begin before age 18.