American Coronary heart Affiliation Fights Vaping Youngsters With New Marketing campaign

Graphics courtesy of MGN Online

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ / press release) – Vaping is an increasing epidemic among teenagers, with e-cigarette consumption more than doubling in middle and high school students in recent years. Millions of young people vape and face potential addiction and other long-term health effects for their entire lives.

Together with presenting Heart Ball sponsor White Greer & Maggard Orthodontics, the Central Kentucky American Heart Association is launching a social media campaign to fight the teenage vaping epidemic by educating people about the dangers of e-cigarettes.

The social media campaign running on the AHA’s @HeartKentucky channels will feature the stories of Will, a student athlete who started vaping at age 14, and Claire, who started vaping in 9th grade , show.

The organization will also highlight how many vape devices are designed to look like everyday items like makeup, smart devices, pens, etc., making them difficult for parents and teachers to identify. As part of the effort, people will be able to dispose of their vaping devices at any of the 20 White, Greer & Maggard Orthodontics locations, with the goal of collecting a total of 500 vaping devices.

A new generation of teenagers have become and continue to be addicted to nicotine as the country focuses on the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2019, 26.1 percent of Kentucky high school students used e-cigarettes, 6.4 percent chewed tobacco, snuff or dip, and 7.9 smoked cigars, cigarillos, or small cigars at least once in 30 days. Each year, 8,900 Kentucky adults die from the effects of smoking and 119,000 children under the age of 18 in Kentucky eventually die prematurely from smoking.

“While vaping seems safer than smoking cigarettes, the nicotine in vape pods can cause blood pressure and heart rate increases, arterial narrowing, irritability, mood swings, anxiety, impulsiveness and learning difficulties. That’s why White, Greer & Maggard Orthodontics are working with the American Heart Association to educate people in central Kentucky about the harmful effects of vaping, “said Dr. Stan Ferguson of White, Greer & Maggard Orthodontics.

More than 5 million teenagers across the country are now vaping, twice as many as two years ago.

To address this issue, the American Heart Association supports public policies that regulate and tax e-cigarettes like any other tobacco product, such as: Access to and reporting on evidence-based methods of quitting tobacco use and nicotine addiction; Excise duties on tobacco products; Raising the legal age for tobacco products to 21 years; and public awareness campaigns.

The American Heart Association believes that urban and rural teenagers can fight the ongoing e-cigarette epidemic effectively. To empower cities and counties to fight the vaping epidemic, the association has called on Kentuckers and lawmakers to support House and Senate bills that would allow local lawmakers to market and sell tobacco products to regulate in their communities.

During the 2021 legislature, Senate Law 81, sponsored by Senator Julie Raque Adams, and House Law 147, sponsored by Rep. Kim Moser, would restore the rights of cities and counties to regulate the marketing and sale of tobacco products in their communities. This would allow communities to reduce tobacco use and related costs and improve the health of their residents.

This legislation would provide new tools for communities to improve health, but does not require them to use those tools unless they have the support to do so. The bill would repeal a bill that has been on the books since 1996 and passed at the behest of Big Tobacco to prevent cities and counties from combating tobacco use in their own communities. The repeal of this law does not require communities to issue new regulations; it only gives them the opportunity to do so if the community and elected officials deem it right.

The Kentucky tobacco industry spends nearly $ 274.3 million annually on advertising, resulting in $ 1.92 billion in annual spending on smoking-related diseases ($ 589.8 million through Medicaid).

Historically, Kentucky has a history of allowing tobacco use to be billed far more than it ingests. Tobacco use cost Kentucky more than $ 1.92 billion in healthcare costs, but it brought in just $ 188.4 million in excise tax revenues in 2019.

Kentucky also has a shortage of tobacco prevention and cessation resources, with the CDC recommending $ 56.4 million and Kentucky allocating a fraction of that at $ 2 million. The American Heart Association is helping to increase funding for nationwide tobacco prevention and cessation efforts from $ 2 million in FY 2021 to $ 10 million in FY 2022. This funding supports Quitline and the local Department of Health’s nationwide termination programs, as well as multimedia and local Prevention educational programs.

The American Heart Association recently launched a youth-run Tobacco Playoffs website to empower young people to recognize and reject the harmful effects of tobacco use in their communities. Tobacco Endgame gives youngsters the opportunity to network directly with policy makers, learn how policy change can create healthier communities, and gain valuable leadership and voice experience for their peers.

Individuals 13 and over can join the Tobacco Endgame movement by sending ENDGAME to 46839 or visiting

To learn more about the Central Kentucky American Heart Association’s anti-teen vaping campaign in partnership with White, Greer & Maggard Orthodontics, follow @HeartKentucky on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.