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Surgeon General sounds alarm on teen vaping

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RICHMOND, Va. -- In a new report, the nation’s top doctor said e-cigarette use is more common among teens than any other tobacco-related product, and he’s concerned because nicotine has harmful effects on a developing brain.

The U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy called e-cigarettes an emergency public health threat to our nation’s youth in the report.

He said e-cigarettes are not harmless, and too many teens are using them.


He also said he found a lot of young people and adults who believe e-cigarettes are not tobacco products, when in fact they turn liquid nicotine into an inhalable vapor, but without the harmful tar generated by regular cigarettes.

CBS 6 reporter Melissa Hipolit found smokers and former smokers in RVA who said they are well aware of what’s in e-cigarettes.

“Didn’t like the nicotine because the nicotine gives me anxiety so I didn’t really like it,” Bradley Keith-Carden, a former smoker, said.

“There’s no substituting putting smoke in your lungs, it’s still a negative thing,” Colin McCampbell, who currently smokes regular cigarettes but wants to quit, said.

Chip Anderson, who co-owns RVA Vapes on West Broad Street, said he sees his job selling e-cigarettes as more of a social issue than a business issue.

“I wake up every day to help people improve the quality of their life,” Anderson said.

He said e-cigarettes essentially saved his life, which allowed him to overcome a 15 year addiction to regular cigarettes.

Chip Anderson

Chip Anderson

“I can point to a number of different peer reviewed studies that are medically published and very reputable organizations have done them, and 9 out of 10 of them have said not only is this safer but it’s probably one of the greatest innovations of this century,” Anderson said.

Anderson said, legally, minors can’t even buy e-cigarettes, and the product helps long-time smokers like him wean themselves off of regular cigarettes.

“It’s an adult product, and we’re very strict about that,” Anderson said.

The Surgeon General is asking parents and health workers to make concerns about e-cigarettes clear to young people.