LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky has announced the start of a peer-education campaign that will aim to disprove the idea that using electronic cigarettes is safe and harmless.
Just days after helping Sen. Mitch McConnell introduce a bill that would raise the minimum age for tobacco purchases, The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky on Monday unveiled its series of public service announcements.
“We are the cancer capital of the world,” Foundation President Ben Chandler said.
Chandler said teens have been targeted by e-cig companies, and that Kentucky’s problems mirror the problems prevalent across the country.
Some advocacy groups are pushing that same message.
“It is no accident that flavors like watermelon (and) slush are there,” Kentucky Youth Advocates Executive Director Terry Brooks said.
The campaign involves the voices of several students. Claire Ramsey is a student at Henry County Middle School. She said she wanted to be a part of the Public Service Announcement to help her friends and classmates understand the risk of addiction behind vaping.
“One thing I hope they learn most is that one vape pod is equivalent to a full pack of cigarettes,” Ramsey said. “It’s no different than regular smoking.”
Claire is featured in a couple of the PSA’s.
“I could get addicted this,” Ramsey said in the video. “I am only 11 years old.”
Even legislators who have pushed for tobacco-safety bills aren’t immune to the problem teens are facing. The “I Just Didn’t Know” campaign is also aimed parents and lawmakers.
“I work with a lot of people who don’t have teenagers,” said Rep. Julie Raque Adams, of Louisville. “My own kids, who I think are bright and ambitious, they truly have said to me, ‘I just didn’t know that there was so much nicotine in this.’”
The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky hopes to present its campaign across the state. The Jefferson County Public Schools are expected to start their own campaign later this week.