Jul 8, 2015 11:03 PM
DOVER - Sixty teenagers took to the streets Wednesday in Dover to protest candy-flavored electronic cigarettes.
Members of Dover's Youth to Youth program said there are over 7,700 flavors of e-cigarettes, and candy flavors, such as cotton candy, Swedish fish and Skittles are meant to get kids hooked on nicotine.
The proof, they say, is the fact that approximately two million teenagers are already using e-cigarettes.
"Candy flavors are really attractive to kids and the industry is targeting kids more and more, and we want to stop that," said Caitlyn Temple, 14, of Newmarket, who joined Y2Y for the day, along with youth from Rochester, Milton, Newmarket, Epping and Franklin.
Caleb Goff, 14, of Milton, said the jury is still out on the safety of e-cigarettes, which are promoted as being a healthier alternative to smoking tobacco.
"E-cigarettes are very harmful. Kids can get into them and they are very, very addictive because they have nicotine," Goff said. "We don't know what chemicals are in them, so we need to do more tests and studies."
Ava Dobson, 15, of Dover, said that if she saw a friend trying an e-cigarette, she would tell them that the only reason they taste good is so people will become addicted for the rest of their lives.
Over the course of the next year, Y2Y members will be creating presentations and public service announcements about the dangers of e-cigarettes, with the hope that their peers will avoid them completely.
The rally on Wednesday is part of Y2Y's summer training program that teaches students the knowledge and skills they need to take action and advocate for healthier lifestyles in their communities.
Y2Y is an after-school drug prevention program coordinated by the Dover Police Department, with support from Wentworth-Douglass Hospital. More information can be found on their website.
Follow Kimberley Haas on Twitter @KHaasNH1.
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