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      E-Cigarette Use on the Rise Among Middle, High Schoolers

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      E-cigarette use is on the rise and the Centers of Disease Control says the number of pre-teens and teens using them has doubled.

      A report by the CDC says e-cigarettes may cause addiction and harm your child's brain development.

      "The use of the e-cigarette products amongst middle schoolers and high schoolers is sky rocketing and it is a product that contains nicotine. Nicotine is an addictive substance, so what that leaves us is the opportunity to use more nicotine products throughout their lifetime," Kim Burr, tobacco and cessation counselor at CHI Good Samaritan said.

      Stacy Lauby is the owner of the Kearney Smoker Friendly store and agrees that e-cigarette sales are up.

      "We usually notice an increase in our e-cigarette and our vapor sales right after the first of the year,” Lauby said. “People set New Year's resolutions to try to quit smoking, so this is a good cessation product for them to try to help them get off the actual tobacco cigarette and into the vapors or the e-cigarette."

      However, Burr says any type of nicotine product can lend itself to others and even though it's less harmful than tobacco cigarettes, the juices could also be harmful.

      "So with some of the flavorings, people are looking at them and saying 'are they safe to inhale in a vaporized format?' And that's just a question that we aren't going to be able to format until we have a little bit more time behind us to evaluate that," Burr said.

      Some say e-cigarettes help kick the habit of smoking all together.

      "We do see some of our regular customers come back in and are back on to that actual cigarette, but we do see several success stories also where they've never gone back, where they've totally completely quit,” Lauby said. “Our e-cigarettes and the vapors all range in different nicotine levels, so it's a step down process similar to say the patch."

      Burr says historically it took years before the FDA proved cigarettes to be harmful, so it may take just as long for e-cigarettes.

      "And the data to understand the risks and benefits are lagging far behind and that's partially because the manufacturers are not being held accountable to the FDA to carefully evaluate the products at this time," Burr said.

      Burr says parents should start by talking to their kids and educate them about the product's negative effects.

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