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Here's why 16 million U.S. kids can buy and smoke cigarettes legally.

What's stopping kids from lighting up in schools? In these states, nothing.

Here's why 16 million U.S. kids can buy and smoke cigarettes legally.

It's no secret that the tobacco industry has been marketing to children and teens since their inception.

It's a business built on getting consumers physically and chemically addicted to the product. The earlier the customer gets hooked, the better. Back in the day, tobacco companies shamelessly enticed children to start smoking with the help of weekend cartoons, doctors, and — of course — beautiful women. Take a look at some of these vintage cigarette ads.

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But nowadays, there are tons of restrictions on how tobacco companies can advertise and lure in young and impressionable kids. So while you'd be hard-pressed to find a cigarette ad on TV, electronic cigarettes are a whole different story.

E-cigarettes are now a multibillion-dollar-a-year industry with minimal regulations. So it's no surprise that kids are inhaling these products left and right.

But can kids really buy e-cigarettes?

So not only can kids buy e-cigarettes in many states, they can legally smoke them in a bunch of public places like parks, restaurants, and even schools if they wanted to push their luck!

16 million children can legally buy e-cigarettes in the United States. Let me break that down for you.

The National Youth Tobacco Survey, also conducted by the CDC, highlights the obvious elephant in the room.

Electronic cigarettes are a clear gateway to smoking conventional cigarettes.

While the market remains virtually unregulated, tobacco companies are back to their old advertising tricks.

Take a look at some of these modern e-cigarette ads. They feature celebrities like Jenny McCarthy and Stephen Dorff, waxing poetic about how "free" e-cigarettes make them feel, coupled with shots of them looking extra cool.



This ad from Vapor Couture pushes the glamour angle by featuring "eye-catching accessories" like carrying cases and sparkling e-cigarettes in "coordinating colors straight off the runway."

And while these ads may not be overtly targeted at young people like they were in the 1950s, linking smoking with being stylish, independent, and cool tends to appeal to teenagers who are struggling to fit in and figure out their identity.

Even though some of these ads come with disclaimers about not selling to minors, there are still plenty of states where minors can legally purchase e-cigarettes.

Let's review...

Millions of teens all over the U.S. can legally buy e-cigarettes, and once again tobacco companies are making the product look like the perfect accessory that will give teens the confidence they have always longed for. Hmmm?

There is simply not enough long-term research to prove that e-cigarettes are harmless. As a result, the electronic cigarette industry must be strictly regulated.

If adults want to smoke, that's their prerogative. But kids should have to be at least 18 years old before they can start purchasing electronic cigarettes. Otherwise, another generation of kids are at risk of falling victim to the deadly diseases that come from lighting up.

If you agree that there should be stricter regulations for e-cigarette sales, especially when it comes to minors, share this post and let your voice be heard.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

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Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

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