Anti-tobacco group says big tobacco is targeting kids with flavored products

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids says tobacco companies are targeting your kids by offering thousands of yummy flavors for vaping and cigars.

"E-cigarettes are sold in over 7,000 flavors - 7,000 flavors and cigars are available in 250 flavors - flavors like gummy bear, cotton candy, cherry dynamite, that are clearly aimed at kids," said Vince Willmore, the Vice President of Communications for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, "more than 80 percent of kids who use tobacco, started with a flavored tobacco product. More than 80 percent of kids say one of the main reasons they use tobacco products is because 'they come in flavors I like,' so, clearly, flavors play a big role in using these products."

Willmore says the research shows more high school students are now vaping than smoking and that more high school aged boys are smoking cigars. He says, this is a dangerous trend because the Surgeon General has found nicotine use to be unsafe for teens.

So, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is lobbying Congress to support regulation of flavored tobacco products to protect kids.

"Parents need to talk to their kids that all tobacco products are addictive and can harm their health," added Willmore, "These products contain addictive nicotine. They could lead kids to use other tobacco products, and we know that exposure to nicotine can harm the development of the adolescent brain."

Proponents of e-cigarettes say that alcohol products are also flavored in a way that may appeal to both minors and adults, and that e-cigarettes offer a safer alternative to heavy smokers who want to quit.

Those that are under the age of 18 are not legally allowed to purchase e-cigarettes in the state of Ohio.

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