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‘Project e-Prevent’ conference at EKU focuses on affects of e-cigarettes on state’s youth

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

“Project e-Prevent,” a conference designed to help people understand electronic cigarettes and their effects on Kentucky’s youth, will be held at Eastern Kentucky University’s Perkins Conference Center on Tuesday, May 2.

Fewer Kentucky youth are smoking tobacco (rates have dropped to 17 percent from 26 percent in just 10 years) but more are now using e-cigarettes (23 percent of teenagers), so health advocates and others are concerned that youth have just switched products.

The program will take a look at this shift in teens’ use of the products, as well as the effects of e-cigarettes and heart disease, what’s going on with federal regulations, what local governments are doing and how marketing campaigns for these products target youth, among other things.

The conference, sponsored by the Southern Kentucky Area Health Education Center, will offer continuing education credits for select occupations. Click here for more information or contact Anna Jones at ajjones@soahec.org.

This conference is timely. The Trump administration has picked a supporter of e-cigarettes, Scott Gottlieb, to be the new Food and Drug Administration commissioner. He has served on the board of an e-cigarette retailer; has a financial stake in a company that he has pledged to sell if he is confirmed by the Senate; and said at a recent confirmation hearing that “reduced harm products” such as e-cigs should be available “to consumers to transition them off combustible cigarettes,” USA Today reports.

U.S. Reps. Tim Cole, R-Okla., and Sanford Bishop, D-Ga., have introduced legislation that would exempt from FDA approval thousands of vaping products that are already on the market.

The legislation would overrule regulations issued last year by the Obama administration that deemed e-cigarettes tobacco products and allowed the FDA to retroactively examine all tobacco products that were on the market in February 2007, USA Today reports. “Representatives from 51 groups have asked congressional appropriators to retain the FDA rule.”

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