Health advocates call for action to stem youth e-cig use in Kentucky

Published: Jan. 14, 2020 at 11:54 AM EST
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Public health advocates have rallied at Kentucky's Capitol to push for legislation aimed at reducing smoking and e-cigarette use among young people.

A group called the Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow on Tuesday urged Kentucky lawmakers to impose an excise tax on the sale of e-cigarettes.

Another measure backed by the group would raise the minimum legal age in Kentucky to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21. The coalition also called for increased state funding for tobacco prevention and cessation efforts.

The statehouse rally featured students, health advocates and business leaders.

"Even if you don't die, the nicotine usage causes your brains to be rewired in such a way that you're more susceptible to other addictions. That's the last thing we need with opioids and other problems that we got in Kentucky," said Ben Chandler, President and CEO of Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

"When I was a freshman in high school, I was at a football game and exposed to the product. I was immediately hooked. It took me over a year and four separate Juul devices to finally quit," said Abby Hefner, who attends McCracken County High School.