ALBANY, GA (WALB) - A new study released by the CDC says e-cigarette use has tripled among middle and high school students. People in the e-cigarette industry and health officials agree that minors should not be using this product.
Michael Summerlin just started smoking them for one reason.
"I had a couple of uncles that were smokers, both of them died from smoking at an early age. Plus, I was a 20 year smoker myself and I didn't want to end up like they did," said store supervisor Michael Summerlin.
The e-cigarette was so effective in helping him quit that he wanted to help others with this same issue. The store he supervises has been open just three years.
"In three years, we've helped a little bit over 5,000 people quit smoking," said Summerlin.
But the product may be having an adverse impact on a new generation. The CDC says use among middle and high school students has tripled in one year.
"E-cigarettes, minor feel as though, they're safe because they're relatively new, they're innovative products. And they're not the same traditional products that they're parents or grandparents may have used but they're just as dangerous," said Remy Hutchins with the Department of Public Health.
Remy Hutchins says the Department of Public Health educates these students on the dangers of e-cigarette use as often as they can.
"You're still developing an addiction to nicotine and if for whatever reason they can't purchase the e-cigarettes they may turn to other nicotine products such as cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and dip or things like that," said Hutchins.
But vapor shops say their target audience isn't minors. They target smokers who are trying to quit.
"It's not the same as smoking. This is what people do to get off cigarettes not to get on them," said Summerlin.
And Summerlin says he'll continue to do his part to keep minors' hands off these products.