State health department launches campaign against e-cigarettes

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The California Department of Health is launching an ad campaign against electronic cigarettes, claiming the items are a risk to public health. (KABC)

Electronic cigarettes are considered by many to be a healthier alternative to smoking, but the California Department of Health has declared them a public health risk.

The department is so concerned that it's releasing two television ads calling the devices toxic and highlighting that big tobacco companies are involved in the e-cig business.

One ad suggests the candy flavored e-juices are being marketed to attract children.

"We've seen an increase in the youth using these things. Thirty-three percent of our 11th graders reported that they had tried them at some point in the past. They're getting them online. They're getting them in stores. They're getting them at kiosks in the mall," said Dr. Helene Calvet, deputy health officer at the Orange County Health Care Agency.

The employees at Local Vape, a vapor shop in Costa Mesa, check the IDs of anyone who purchases an e-cig to ensure they sell only to adults.

Camille Winans, a mother of three and one of the employees at the shop, said it's up to parents to know what their children are doing.

"The parents just need to be responsible. You can't leave your bottles out. You can't do that kind of thing," she said.

Winans also credits e-cigs for helping her quit smoking tobacco more than a year ago. She said she feels healthier vaping.

Health officials said e-cigs contain fewer carcinogens than tobacco, but more research still needs to be done.

"They're much lower levels than in regular cigarettes, but who knows what a safe level of a carcinogen is?" Calvet said.

Officials also said the anti-e-cigarette campaign will include ads on billboards, at gas stations and even in movie theaters. It is expected to run through June.

Related Topics:
healthcigaretteselectronicschildrenorange county newsOrange CountyCosta Mesa
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