SF launches nation’s first e-cigarette health education campaign 

  • Courtesy San Francisco Tobacco Free Project
San Francisco this week began rolling out what is being called the first e-cigarette health education campaign in the U.S.

The monthlong campaign is running in Muni and BART stations, along with on the outside and inside of Muni buses, said Derek Smith, health educator with The City’s Tobacco Free Project.

Educating the public about where e-cigarettes are prohibited, which in San Francisco are the same places as regular cigarettes, and “starting dialogue about what’s in these products” are the two main goals of the campaign, Smith said.

The campaign comes as California health officials on Wednesday issued a warning of the purported toxicity of electronic cigarettes.

“E-cigarettes contain nicotine and other harmful chemicals, and the nicotine in them is as addictive as the nicotine in cigarettes,” state health officer Dr. Ron Chapman said in a statement.

Smith emphasized that the growing number of young people using e-cigarettes is startling, with use among 18- to 29-year-olds increasing from 2.3 percent in 2012 to 7.6 percent in 2013, according to new statewide data. Additionally, young adults in California are three times more likely to use e-cigarettes than those 30 and older.

“Young people are taking up this product at a really alarming rate,” Smith said.

The City’s e-cigarette health education campaign will cost $115,000.

About The Author

Laura Dudnick

Laura Dudnick, a Bay Area native, covers education and planning for The San Francisco Examiner. She previously worked as a senior local editor for Patch.com, and as the San Mateo County bureau reporter and weekend editor for Bay City News Service.
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