By Britt Moreno
DENVER (CBS4) – Instead of students rallying to support the home team, they will come together at a pep rally to cheer on a vape free school. Thursday morning Gov. John Hickenlooper will meet with students at South High School for a “vape free” pep rally in support of his executive order calling for a “Vape Free” November. He is set to chat with students about the tricks of the vaping industry, why teens are targets and why vaping is unhealthy.
According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Colorado teens have the highest incidence of vaping in the country. The fact is a stunner to parents as well as the governor. Hickenlooper reacted and issued an executive order at the start of November to try to curb the epidemic.
CBS4 wanted to check in with state officials on how this effort is navigating the nicotine trend. CBS4 This Morning’s Britt Moreno asked the acting chief medical officer Dr. Tista Ghosh why this issue is so pervasive in Colorado.
“We aren’t sure why we are number one, but we know we don’t want to be,” Ghosh said.
She says marketers are vying for teens’ attention often displaying the products on social media. Ghosh says one in four high school students vape and students as young as middle school are now using. She says the state wants to prevent “a whole generation being hooked on nicotine.”
Often times people think vaping is healthier that inhaling cigarette smoke. Such is not the case, Ghosh told Moreno. Vaping still allows people to inhale nicotine and could be addictive. It is also dangerous for teens to be exposed to nicotine, because their brains are still developing.
Moreno asked how the executive order has helped curb teen vaping. Ghosh admits there is a lot of work left to be done, but says now the state has created awareness.
“We are starting to get traction (on the issue). The governor had wanted the order to make changes including checking up on businesses more often to make sure they’re not selling to minors and extending no smoking laws to include vaping.”
Right now kids as young as 18 can buy vape pens and products. Ghosh reminded everyone that many products can also be concealed as other accessories.