California’s top public health officer called Wednesday for a “bold public education campaign” to inform Californians about the health effects of electronic cigarettes, which have grown increasingly trendy in recent years.
The devices, also known as vape pens and hookah pipes, contain at least 10 chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects, according to a report from the California Department of Public Health. While they are widely marketed as smoking cessation devices, “there is no scientific evidence that e-cigarettes help smokers successfully quit traditional cigarettes,” the report says.
Instead, the report says, e-cigarettes are addicting a new generation to nicotine with many of the same marketing techniques that have been banned for tobacco products. The devices are advertised on TV and radio, where tobacco ads are banned, and some packaging features cartoon characters.
“The fact that e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is highly addictive, is not typically included in e-cigarette advertising,” the report says.