COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
As the state of Missouri begins a public awareness campaign aimed at educating youth about the dangers of vaping, a Boone County campaign is in its third week.
The Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services joined with public schools to run advertisements on various social media platforms to deter youth and young adults from vaping.
They announced the anti-vaping campaign in September and started pushing out content just over three weeks ago. Since the start, Michelle Shikles, the supervisor of public health promotion for Columbia/Boone County, said they've reached more than 21,000 people.
The efforts are separate from Gov. Mike Parson's statewide campaign. Paron held a news conference Monday afternoon to kick off the campaign.
"We're trying to work with them, so that anyone who sees our message also sees theirs," Shikles said. The dual efforts mean that Boone County residents could see more anti-vaping advertisements than other Missourians.
The Columbia City Council has discussed temporarily banning the sale of flavored e-cigarette products within city limits. Previously, the Columbia/Boone County Board of Health released a report asking for the ban. The council then requested a more in-depth report from the board of health before taking any further steps to restrict the products.
Columbia’s Substance Abuse Advisory Commission planned to develop recommendations for the Columbia City Council. The commission was scheduled to meet last week to come up with those recommendations, but there were not enough commission members present to take any action.
The commission is scheduled to meet next on Dec. 11.
A store manager at Aqueous Vapor located on Business Loop in Columbia said there was an initial drop in e-cigarette sales following the threats of bans across the United States. However, the worker said the sales increased again when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report that many illnesses were linked to vape cartridges containing THC, the substance in marijuana that produces a high in users.
Last week, the CDC identified vitamin E acetate as the chemical of concern in e-cigarettes. Vitamin E acetate is most commonly used as a thickening agent in e-cigarettes or vapes containing THC, according to health officials.
Officials at the CDC are now warning against the use of vaping products that contain THC, especially if the products are from friends or family, in addition to in-person or online dealers.
As of Friday, the state reported at least 35 confirmed cases of lung injury linked to vaping. Two of those cases have resulted in death.