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Vape Scape


The Coalition of Youth Advocates (COYA) is an action-driven alliance of teens increasing awareness of the health risks of tobacco and encouraging prevention policy change in Santa Barbara. The members of COYA want to publically express our opinion on the pertinent issue of electronic smoking devices that are negatively infiltrating popular youth culture.

A product like the Juul, which has a sleek design and resembles a USB flash drive, makes it easy for youth to discretely vape the nicotine-laced juice. COYA feels that products like Juul are a social justice issue because of the way its manufacturer, Pax Labs, is capitalizing on the vulnerability of youth through strategic marketing and the use of youth appealing flavors, such as fruit flavors. Ultimately, the use of flavors and attractive products are indicative of the tobacco industry’s attempt to re-normalize smoking among youth and gradually introduce them to regular smoking and/or dual use. This is an alarming trend. Read more about flavored tobacco here: flavorshookkids.org.

Unfortunately, there is a common misconception that these products are safe. However, the use of salt-based nicotine in these products makes them highly addictive and dangerous. In fact, 10 puffs on a Juul is equivalent to one traditional cigarette’s worth of nicotine. Many youth do not realize that this habit is as addictive as it is.

We are dedicated to this issue. We are urging our peers, parents, teachers and politicians to educate themselves and take all possible steps to protect our youth from these products.

COYA works under the umbrella of the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.

To submit a comment on this article, email letters@independent.com or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email tips@independent.com.



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