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U of I Researcher: More Young People Turning to Flavored E-Cigs, Hookahs


  • Conner Jackson
According to a University of Idaho professor, national research indicates that while adolescents may be lighting up fewer cigarettes, that doesn't mean they're smoking less. Dr. Steven Meier, director of the Addictions Training Program at U of I, said access to "alternate" delivery systems including e-cigarettes, vape pens and hookahs has risen from 4.5 percent of high-school students in 2011 to 13.4 percent in 2015, and from 1.1 percent among middle-schoolers in 2013 to 3.9 percent in 2014.

The Moscow-Pullman Daily News reports the details were shared by Meier during a Thursday presentation on the U of I Moscow campus. He pointed to increasingly popular e-cig and hookah flavors, such as "Waikiki watermelon, tutti frutti and blue water punch," as especially appealing to adolescents.

"Tobacco companies are all about getting you to use," said Meier. "The younger you are when you start to use, the higher the probability you are going to use my product for a long time."

Meier also shared the sobering statistic that when adolescents flirt with addictive substances before age 13, "70 percent of those people will develop a substance abuse disorder within the next seven years."

"That's a major issue," he added.

Meier also said research indicated that, nationwide, 7.4 percent of adolescents 12 to 17 years old had used marijuana in the past 30 days.

"Most youth don't see marijuana as harmful," he said.