Hundreds of people gathered at the Statehouse Wednesday to raise awareness about the impact of tobacco use on young people.
E-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product among Indiana high school students. Twenty percent of high school Hoosiers reported e-cigarette use in 2021.
Indiana Department of Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Lindsey Weaver said while cigarette use among teens is declining, vaping and e-cigarette use is on the rise. Weaver encouraged young people in attendance at the event to continue their advocacy to prevent teen tobacco use.
“You offer important insights about your peers that help public health leaders and others design effective tobacco control strategies that can respond to actual experiences of the youth,” Weaver said.
Lauren Silcox said she believes e-cigarette companies target young people by offering flavored products. Silcox is a student at Indiana University and an Indiana ambassador for the national Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
“What's making these appeal to the younger generation is the fact that, you know, they taste like cherry or they taste like lemon,” Silcox said. “And when you become addicted, the flavor doesn't really matter at the end of the day.”
She wants lawmakers to ban flavored vaping products.
“They need to make the change now, in order to prevent this from going any farther worse in the future,” Silcox said.
Indiana raised the minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21 in 2020.
Indiana’s legislative session kicked off earlier this month. Lawmakers have not introduced bills aimed at curbing youth vaping.
Contact reporter Darian Benson at email@example.com.