OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. - Oakland County is taking steps to make sure kids aren't victims of clever marketing and big doses of nicotine.
How do you keep kids from vaping and hurting themselves when flavors like "fruit monster" and "peanut butter and jam" are what's advertised?
Oakland schools superintendent Dr. Wanda Cook Robinson showed off some of these flavorful examples at a press conference Monday morning. The county, the schools and the Alliance for Healthy Communities announced they're coming together to stop the vaping epidemic.
"We've seen illnesses that are related to vaping, crime, and especially among school children," Dr. Cook Robinson said.
"It's targeted at children and that's part of the problem, is having all these vape juices and special flavorings that have absolutely nothing to do with cessation. So, there's been a drastic increase; it's been very, very easy to hide for kids, they're doing it in school, they're doing it right in the classroom and you couldn't even know it's happening," Julie Brenner with Alliance for Health Communities said.
Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine. In fact, as much nicotine as you'd find in a pack of cigarettes. To health experts, that's terrifying.
"Nicotine exposure during adolescence can harm the developing brain, which continues to develop until about age 25 and can impact learning, memory, attention and increase the risk for future drug addiction," Leigh-Ann Stafford with Oakland County Health said.
So what's next?
Right now there are dozens of vaping-related lung injuries reported in our state and so far one death. Flavored e-cigarettes are banned in Michigan for now, but we all have a lot to learn about the dangers.
"We're going to align our efforts to prevent youth tobacco use, specifically vaping, by providing more education, advocating for changes in public policy and creating a healthier environment for our kids here in Oakland County," Oakland County Executive David Coulter said. "By working together we can tackle this serious public health issue and move the needle on how many teens are endangering themselves by using this perilous product."
"This is a very, very serious issue for us and it will truly take the Oakland County village to find a solution here," Dr. Cook Robinson said.
Keep in mind, if you are vaping to quit smoking there are resources available to you for free. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.