FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – The Foundation For A Healthy Kentucky has launched a new campaign to educate teens and young adults about the dangers of e-cigarettes and vaping.
Four new public service announcements for television and radio featuring Kentucky youth sharing the dangers of using e-cigarettes while young were released Tuesday as part of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky's "I Just Didn't Know" peer education campaign.
Foundation President and CEO Ben Chandler says they hear repeatedly that young people and their parents don’t understand the health risks of using the highly addictive tobacco products.
"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,” he said. “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."
E-cigarettes are designed and formulated to enable users to take in large amounts of nicotine, heavy metals and toxins, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Using nicotine during adolescence can harm brain development and reduce attention span and impulse control. Nicotine use also can prime the brain for future addictions to other drugs, the CDC says.
"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 Food and Drug Administration is investigating incidences of seizures associated with youth e-cig use."
Funded by an endowment, the Foundation says their mission is to address the unmet health needs of Kentuckians by developing and influencing policy, improving access to care, reducing health risks and disparities, and promoting health equity. Since the Foundation started in 2001, it has invested nearly $28 million in health policy research, advocacy, and demonstration project grants across the state.