MINNEAPOLIS — We're hearing of more cases of teens getting sick from e-cigarettes. KARE 11 has reported on cases in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois of young users getting severe lung damage.
Starting Tuesday, health professionals are meeting in Minneapolis to discuss commercial tobacco use and how to cut down on the number of users, especially usage of e-cigarettes in teens and young adults.
"Youth e-cigarette use has interrupted you know two decades of decline of youth tobacco use. So it's really disturbing to us it's disrupting our efforts to make sure that kids aren't ever using tobacco products. We want to make sure they'll never start," said Laura Smith, spokesperson for Clearway Minnesota- an non-profit that works to eliminate tobacco harm.
During the conference, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams will speak. He has called youth vaping an 'epidemic.'
About 2,000 people plan to attend the conference, which is one of the largest tobacco control gathering in the U.S. They will exchange ideas on how to implement change in their states. For example, in Minnesota, more communities are raising the tobacco-buying age to 21.
"We know there's a lot of 18-year-olds in high schools but not many 21-year-olds so if we can interrupt the flow of those products to our kids we can help interrupt the flow of addiction," said Smith.