Izzy Martorano

Izzy Martorano, a B.O.O.O.T (Bullhead Opting Out of Tobacco) volunteer, and father of group organizer Antonia Martorano, holds an albino corn snake at the Day of Action event hosted at C & D Feeds store in Mohave Valley on Friday morning.

MOHAVE VALLEY — A local organization against tobacco use and vaping hosted a Day of Action event on the National Day of Action, a campaign to end vaping and the sales of Juul and other e-cigarettes.

According to the Truth Initiative, a national coalition seeking to end tobacco use in America, electronic nicotine delivery systems go by many names. The most common name is “e-cigarettes,” but others such as e-cigs, vapes, vape pens, mods and tanks also are common terms. Juul is the largest manufactuer of e-cigarattes.

E-cigarettes are devices that operate by heating a liquid solution to a high enough temperature that it produces an aerosol that is inhaled. Solutions, sometimes called e-liquids, typically include nicotine, flavoring and a humectant, such as propylene glycol, to retain moisture and create an aerosol when heated. Many of the flavorings and humectants used in e-liquids have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for oral consumption, but not for inhalation, due to the lack of research regarding the safety of these compounds when inhaled.

Some newer e-cigarettes on the market have nicotine salts in e-liquids — prompting questions about the use, purpose and safety of this form of nicotine. 

The local group behind Friday’s “Day of Action” was B.O.O.O.T — Bullhead Opting Out of Tobacco. The group, in conjunction with the Mohave County Tobacco Use Prevention Program, set up the event at C&D Feed store off Highway 95 in Mohave Valley. 

The organizer was Antonia Martorano, along with her father Izzy, and joined by many volunteers who set up booths for educating the public about the dangers associated with vaping and the many delivery systems now on the American market.

The group had a photo booth set up for taking pictures with pets to join the national television campaign created by the Truth Initiative. People were encouraged to bring their pets to the event, then were asked to email or text the photos to Martorano, who then shared them with the larger organization for use in more television and print ads.

Martorano said the group will be seeking other venues to do more events, acknowledging that Mohave Valley was a bit off the beaten path for reaching large crowds.

The 2017 National Youth Tobacco Survey found that 11.7% of high school students and 3.3% of middle school students used e-cigarettes in the last 30 days, compared with 1.5% of high school and 0.6% of middle school students who reported use in 2011.

Use of e-cigarettes has been shown to increase the likelihood of smoking cigarettes among young people, raising concerns that e-cigarettes are acting as an entry to nicotine products. The 2018 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report concluded that, “there is substantial evidence that e-cigarette use increases risk of ever using combustible tobacco cigarettes among youth and young adults.”

Many young e-cigarette users do not know what is in the products they are using. A recent study found that 98.7% of all e-cigarette products sold at convenience stores, supermarkets and similar outlets contain nicotine. Yet, many young people aren’t aware that the products they use contain nicotine. In fact, 60% of teens incorrectly reported e-cigarettes as being comprised of mostly flavoring.

Youth e-cigarette users cite flavors as a reason they begin using e-cigarettes. A study that included middle and high school students found that 43% of young people who used e-cigarettes tried them because of appealing flavors.

Like youths, young adults aged 18 to 24 also are using e-cigarettes at increasing rates. The amount of young adults who use e-cigarettes every day or some days increased from 2.4% in 2012 and 2013, to 5.2% in 2015. A 2015 report from the National Health Interview Survey stated that 40% of young adults who used e-cigarettes every day or some days were never smokers before trying e-cigarettes. Compared with adults aged 25 and older, young adults are more likely to try e-cigarettes and report having used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days.

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