A report released by the U.S. Surgeon General says a growing number young adults are using electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes and many think it’s a public health concern.
The report finds that e-cigarette use has tripled among middle and high school students since 2011. The Surgeon General calls the rise a public health concern and oncologist and lung expert with Indiana University Health Dr. Nasser Hanna agrees. He says e-cigarettes can contain harmful carcinogens.
“Studies that have been done to look at this have found that there are really unpredictable levels of different substances in these e-cigarettes,” says Hanna.
Hanna is also concerned about the ways e-cigarette companies are marketing to young people.
“The imagery, the packaging itself, the marketing, the appeal of it being cool and normal and something that makes you look good,” Hanna says.
Indiana has the 44th worst smoking rate in the country, and the report drew some criticism from groups that say e-cigarettes are helping adults quit conventional tobacco products.
But Hanna says there is another proven way to get people to quit and to stop young people from starting.
“By far the most effective measure is to increase the cigarette tax or, in this case, the tax on e-cigarettes,” Hanna says.
Indiana lawmakers are likely to consider tax hikes in the upcoming session.