Candy-flavored e-cigarettes may encourage more young adults to smoke, health experts fear.
Compared to tobacco and actual cigarettes, e-cigarettes are dubbed a safer option for smokers looking to kick their habit. However, according to a survey published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in five middle school students who have tried it say they've never really smoked an actual cigarette. Between 2011 and 2012 alone, e-cigarettes doubled in popularity among middle and high school students.
One middle school student studying in the San Francisco Bay Area recently noticed some kids smoking in class.
Viviana Turincio, an eighth grader, told reporters: "There was a group at the table and they were just smoking on the vape pen, and the teacher was right there - and the teacher didn't even notice."
Vape pens are hand-held, battery-powered devices that vaporize a liquid that is often infused with nicotine. The vapor is inhaled through the mouthpiece and once exhaled, looks like smoke. Unlike tobacco-based products, however, the smoke exhaled from e-cigarettes smells like candy.
"My favorite flavor is gummy bears because it tastes really good," Viviana said.
When asked what she thought of tobacco, eighth grader Marleny Samayoa said: "It has kind of a weird taste to it, like coffee without sugar,"
There is currently no federal age restriction for how old one has to be to purchase e-cigarettes. Some states though, including California, prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.