E-Cigarettes Pose Concerns in Marin County

Marin County officials are increasingly troubled by the bourgeoning electronic cigarette phenomenon and fear it could reduce years of progress on the anti-tobacco front.

Lisa Schwartz, who heads the county’s Office of Education’s safe schools and prevention services, says many kids are under the impression that e-cigarettes are a safe and healthy alternative to traditional cigarettes.

“There is a lot of misinformation and misconception about what these products are and what they can do,” Schwartz said, adding that an effort to correct those misconceptions remains a top priority for her office.

Bob Curry, manager of the county’s Tobacco-Related Disease Control Program, also weighed in on the trend and lamented its ability to undermine smoking prevention efforts.

To combat the problem, the Office of Education and Marin’s public health department have launched a campaign to spread awareness about the dangers of youth e-cigarette smoking. It includes a 14-minute video which the districts are encouraged to employ as part of their physical education curriculum. In addition, schools continue to address the issue as part of their codes of conduct.

The e-cigarette industry brings in about $3 billion per year. That number is only expected to grow, as the increase in popularity. Numerous municipalities across the state have already toughened rules on the smokeless devices, as they await regulation by the FDA.

Read more about the concerns in Marin County here.