Teen vaping has increased 78 percent over the past year, according to federal health officials.
“It has become an epidemic,” said Chief of General Pediatrics at Baystate Medical Center, Dr. John O’Reilly.
Dr. O’Reilly told 22News that vaping products are just as dangerous as regular cigarettes, and one e-cigarette pod has the same amount of nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes.
“A teenage would say, ‘I’d never smoke a pack of cigarettes,'” said O’Reilly. “But, they might vape continuously throughout the day, and by the end of the day, they’ve had as much nicotine and addictive stuff working on their brain.”
A study released Monday found that teens living in places with stricter tobacco laws were a third less likely to try e-cigarettes than those living in areas with more lax regulation.
In Massachusetts, strict laws were passed with the New Year. People must now be 21-years old or older to buy any tobacco product, including e-cigarettes.
In Chicopee, the minimum age to buy tobacco products was already raised from 18 to 21 in April 2018.
An assistant manager at Country Trading Post, a store that sells vaping products, thinks the older age restriction is a good thing.
“They might as well make it like alcohol,” said Ross LaFreniere. “Make it a little harder to get.”
Dr. O’Reilly said teens who vape are more likely to go on to smoke burned cigarettes.
In addition, Dr. O’Reilly told 22News that parents should talk to their kids about the dangers of smoking, both regular cigarettes and e-cigarettes. You can find out more information on how to do that in this video.