PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Quit lying — that’s the name of a new campaign from the American Heart Association aimed at the e-cigarette industry. It was launched in Philadelphia at the association’s scientific conference on Friday.
The campaign comes with a big research investment and advocacy push. The American Heart Association says the teenage vaping epidemic is a health crisis.
“There’s a lot of peer pressure, especially when you walk around in school and everybody around you is doing it,” 16-year-old former vaper Katelyn Quezada said.
Katelyn says she caved to peer pressure and tried vaping in sixth grade. She liked the candy flavors, but she got caught and then stopped.
“Before I tried it, I knew it was something I shouldn’t be doing. After that, I was just very disappointed in myself,” Katelyn said.
Now, Katelyn is a speaker for the American Heart Association meeting in Philadelphia.
“The average e-cigarette pod has as much nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes,” she said.
The American Heart Association announced a new $20 million research investment to study teen vaping and launched a campaign against the vaping industry called #QuitLying.
The AHA accuses the e-cigarette industry of pushing addicting products with flavors aimed at teenagers.
“They need to be given the ability and power to push back against what big tobacco, and now big vape, is doing to try to addict them,” Dr. Rose Marie Robertson said.
Robertson says the dangers of vaping include addiction to nicotine and it can also be harmful to the lungs and vascular system.
“It’s a good thing I got caught because now I know better,” Katelyn said.
Katelyn says many of her friends continue to vape, even though they know about the dangers.
The number of teens vaping has skyrocketed — a 78% increase in one year.
The American Heart Association wants to change that trend.