Austin Public Health warns youth against e-cigarettes

Austin Public Health is warning people about the increasing trend of e-cigarette related illnesses. The CDC reports seven deaths linked to the use of e-cigarettes in the United States.

The fruit-flavored electronic devices have become popular amongst teenagers.

Dr. Mark Escott with Austin Public Health said youth usage is on the rise.

"Our big concern at this stage is the impact on our youth we know the rates of e-cigarette use between 2017 to 2018 almost doubled to 78% which is particularly alarming," Escott said. "What we see is a pattern of massive inflammatory reaction in the lungs which affects the lungs ability to exchange oxygen ultimately resulting in respiratory failure."

Sephanie Helfman with Austin Public Health is urging parents to join the conversation with their kids.

"It's really important that you don't engage in this right now and parents and caregivers need to have that conversation," Helfman said.

Health officials are still learning about e-cigarettes and its health effects. The uncertainty surrounding the sudden outbreak has caused shops like the Austin Vape and Smoke to see a dip in sales.

Store owner Kemal White said his employees are proactive about checking customer IDs and recommending FDA-approved products.

"The direction needs to be pointed at the right place where those things are coming from and not just with a shotgun approach," White said. "Right now it's especially not safe for you to consume something that you have no idea who made or any regulations to make sure you are getting a safe product into your body."

Additional research is needed to understand long-term health effects.