WASHINGTON, D.C. The vaping craze continues to take the U.S. by storm. While some believe vapes help cigarette smokers quit their habits, others say flavored e-cigarettes are attracting kids who would not otherwise smoke.
“I definitely tried it for the first time because I thought I was going to be cool by smoking it,” said Brendan Gillan, a 22-year old e-cigarette user.
Gillan started smoking electronic cigarettes at the age of 16. He says part of the reason he began vaping as a minor was due to the variety of flavors.
“That’s what got me addicted to nicotine. I liked the flavor of it,” said Gillan.
Gillan says e-cigarettes lead him to smoking real cigarettes. He is now back using his vape to quit smoking real cigarettes.
“The positive is that you don’t have to smoke cigarettes anymore honestly. Like, that’s the only real positive I take away from the vape,” said Gillan.
Vaping was a gateway for Gillan, and lawmakers in Washington say that is evident across the country. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) wants to get rid of flavored e-cigarettes unless manufacturers can prove they do not increase youth smoking.
“Let’s not put these kids on a trajectory for an addiction that is absolutely unnecessary, unwanted and just wrong,” said Murkowski.
Murkowski recently reintroduced legislation that would prohibit vape flavors if manufacturers cannot prove a health benefit. She says she is working with the Food and Drug Administration to light a fire under manufacturers. Scott Gottlieb, commissioner of the FDA until earlier this month, said back in March that denying minors access to e-cigarettes is a top priority.
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