HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– We know the dangers of smoking but there’s a new trend attracting kids as young as elementary school age and it’s just as addictive.
They’re called Hookah Pens and they come in flavors just like Kool-aid. But the dangers are very real.
“It’s definitely something that is going around in the elementary, middle and high school,” said Dr. Kelly Johnson-Arbor, Hartford Hospital.
Dr. Kelly Johnson-Arbor specializes in medical toxicology at Hartford Hospital. Thursday night she has a warning for parents about E-cigarettes with nicotine, especially the types called hookah pens.
“If a pack of cigarettes has 20 cigarettes in it, this is the equivalent of more than half a pack in terms of nicotine content, which is very dangerous,” said Johnson-Arbor.
Dr. Johnson-Arbor believes the bright colors and flavors like blueberry are targeting children.
“These are contagious. You take one puff, it tastes good, it smells good, so you are going to develop that habit and keep puffing on that item. And that will make a person inhale a lot more nicotine,” said Johnson-Arbor.
News 8 went inside a smoke shop to buy two hookah pens to see what it is all about. But you have to be at least 18-years-old to go inside and 18-years-old to buy them. The big problem is you can buy them on the internet with no ID required.
And while it says on the label don’t sell to anyone under the age of 18, that is only a recommendation, not law. Dr. Kelly Johnson-Arbor says it’s the wild west when it comes to E-cigarettes.
“You can get anything online in any quantity and I looked at several websites that had free shipping. It would be very easy for people of school age to get these things online,” said Johnson-Arbor.
Right now, the FDA has no rules on E-cigarettes but last week everyone from Congressman Blumenthal to Governor Malloy is calling for regulations.
“It has particular danger in enticing our youngsters into that habit which might lead to smoking,” said Johnson-Arbor.