(HELENA) State and county health leaders say more teenagers in Montana are using e-cigarettes. Now they’re warning parents about the health effects.
The Montana Tobacco Use Prevention Program and Lewis and Clark Public Health held a community forum on youth e-cigarette use Thursday evening at Capital High School.
A 2015 survey by the Office of Public Instruction shows almost half of Montana high schoolers have tried e-cigarettes at least once. Around 30 percent said they had used one within the last 30 days. That’s more than double the number of students smoking traditional cigarettes.
Officials say most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which can affect brain development in young people. They also warned that teenagers who use e-cigarettes might be more likely to start using other tobacco products.
In Montana, retailers aren’t allowed to sell e-cigarettes to anyone younger than 18. But Nicole Aune, manager of the Tobacco Use Prevention Program, says manufacturers have made the products especially attractive for teenagers.
“They think they’re safe, and they’re curious about them because they come in all these different flavors and kind of a cool gimmick to them,” Aune said. “In fact we’re finding that they’re not a whole lot different from cigarettes.”
Officials say Montana has one of the highest rates of youth e-cigarette use in the country.