Beasley Allen Law Firm will host a FREE event for parents and guardians of teens on Tuesday, June 11, to provide information about the dangers vaping poses to youth. Nationwide, the number of teens vaping has increased as vape devices have grown in popularity in recent years. The event will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at University Church of Christ Auditorium located at 5315 Atlanta Highway in Montgomery, Alabama.

“Teenage usage of JUUL and other similar vaping devices has become a national epidemic, and Montgomery is no exception,” said Joseph VanZandt, a lawyer in Beasley Allen’s Mass Torts Section. “Kids using JUUL are exposed to dangerous, highly addictive levels of nicotine, which is harmful to the adolescent brain. Nicotine usage during the teen years can lead to a lifetime of addiction and health problems. We hope to shine a light on this epidemic for Montgomery-area parents and educators who are on the front lines of fighting this problem.”

Vaping involves inhaling an aerosol created by devices that heat a liquid, usually containing flavoring and chemicals including nicotine. Nicotine is the addictive drug in regular cigarettes. Modern vape devices entered the market in the mid-2000s and were promoted to adult smokers to stop smoking traditional cigarettes and tobacco products.

Dr. Carla J. Berg, PhD., MBA, of Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health and Winship Cancer Institute in Atlanta, will discuss the dangers vaping poses to adolescents during the meeting. Dr. Berg focuses her research on tobacco control, with particular emphases on social marketing, consumer behavior, policy change and impact, and vulnerable populations including youth.

“Arming parents, educators and the community with accurate information is powerful as we work to prevent addiction and strive to protect our teens and youth from dangerous chemicals and their delivery systems such as vaping devices,” said Dr. Berg.

Although vaping is not safe for youth, in 2015 JUUL brand vaping devices were introduced and, rather than marketing its products to adults, JUUL targeted younger generations through shrewd and aggressive social media campaigns. Additionally, the San Francisco-based startup’s devices were designed to deliver a higher dose of nicotine than other brands and in less than two years grew to become a $5-billion vape empire. It now controls more than three-quarters of the U.S. vaping market.

“JUUL built its business on the backs of minors by heavily marketing JUUL to them. As a result, a new generation of teenagers and young adults are addicted to nicotine,” said VanZandt.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data shows that high school students using vape devices soared from 1.5 percent to 13.4 percent between 2011 and 2014. During the same time period, vaping among middle school students increased from 0.6 percent to 3.9 percent. A corresponding increase in advertising for these products occurred at the same time, climbing from $6.4 million in 2011 to approximately $115 million in 2014.

The event is open to the public and those planning to attend are encouraged to RSVP by emailing VapeInfo@BeasleyAllen.com. Those not able to RSVP are still invited to attend. For more information about vaping and vaping devices, visit our Vaping Awareness Town Hall event page on Facebook.

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