Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Health foundation offers new public-service announcements about dangers of teens' use of electronic cigarette use; free to anyone

The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky has released four new public service announcements to show the dangers young people subject themselves to by using electronic cigarettes. The spots are part of the foundation's "I Just Didn't Know" campaign and feature Kentucky teens.

The new PSAs include two 30-second videos for television and a 30-second and 60-second audio PSA for radio. Additionally, the campaign provides PSAs that were released in April.The campaign materials are free to anyone who would like to use them.

In one of the PSAs, Hayley from Grant County says, "A lot of people don't know that one little pod of this e-cigarette is equal to a whole pack of cigarettes."

Research shows that public health campaigns can play a crucial role in reducing tobacco use among teens.

A study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's national tobacco public education campaign found that between Feb. 2014 and Nov. 2016, "The Real Cost" campaign prevented up to 587,000 youth from trying traditional cigarettes, half of whom might have gone on to become adult smokers, according to a FDA statement. This will result in a savings of more than $53 billion in future smoking-related costs like medical care, lost wages, lower productivity and increased disability, says the release.

"The Real Cost" campaign expanded to educate teens on the dangers of e-cigarette use in Sept. 2018.

"Over and over, we hear that teens -- and sometimes even their parents -- just don't understand the significant health risks of kids using these highly addictive tobacco products," Ben Chandler, president and CEO of the foundation, said in a news release about the four new PSAs. "We're doing all we can to help pass laws that restrict youth access, but we know that most kids are going to be making the final decision themselves. When someone leans over and urges them to buy an e-cig, we want to make sure they have a clear, factual understanding of all the reasons to avoid becoming a pawn of the tobacco industry."

A 2018 federal report said one in five high-school students and one in 20 middle-school students used e-cigarettes, a 78 percent jump for high schoolers over 2017 and a 48% jump for middle schoolers.

In Kentucky, a 2018 state poll found that 27% of high-school seniors reported using e-cigarettes, up from 12% in 2016.

E-cigarettes do not release harmless vapors, but instead contain substances such as: ultrafine particles, which can be inhaled deep into the lungs; flavorings such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to serious, irreversible lung disease; volatile organic compounds, which are known to be carcinogenic; other cancer-causing chemicals; and heavy metals, including nickel, tin and lead, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

E-cigs also contain high levels of nicotine, which is highly addictive and can harm young people's brain development and reduce attention span and impulse control. Nicotine use in adolescence can also prime the brain for future addiction to other drugs, says the CDC.

One of the most popular e-cigarette brands with teens is the Juul, largely because they look like an oversized computer flash drive, are easy to conceal and come with flavorings. One Juul pod contains as much nicotine as a pack of 20 regular cigarettes.

"We regularly hear stories of kids using several e-cig juice pods a day, which means they inhale multiple packs of cigarettes worth of nicotine," Chandler said. "No wonder the FDA is investigating incidences of seizures associated with youth e-cig use."

On Aug. 7, the FDA announced that it was investigating 127 reports of seizures, tremors, fainting or other neurological symptoms that may be related to electronic cigarettes, and have asked anyone who has experienced such symptoms to report them.

All the PSAs can be found at www.ijustdidntknow.org. Contact Alexa Kerley at 877-326-2583 or akerley@healthy-ky.org for broadcast-quality copies.

Drug Free Lexington has also recently released PSAs aimed at educating e-cig users about their harmful effects are also free for all to use.

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