“E-cigarette use more than doubles among U.S. middle and high school students from 2011-2012”
Smoking tobacco and chewing tobacco have been a constant cause for concern among middle and school students because of the health risks that are involved. However, a new type of smoking has reached students; “vaping”, or smoking electronic cigarettes, has become increasingly popular among teens in the past year. E-cigarette stores have begun opening throughout the city, and their carts can be seen in the mall.
What are e-cigarettes? And what health concerns are associated with this new trend?
E-cigarettes came on the scene in 2007, and are called the “smoking alternative”, because instead of the 4,000 chemicals found in regular cigarettes, e-cigarettes only contain “nicotine dissolved in propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerin” and one of many flavors such as bubble gum and root beer. Since e-cigarettes have less chemicals, it been called a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes, and many smokers use it as a quitting aid to finally get them off of traditional cigarettes. However, there is no proof that e-cigarettes are in fact safer, and since the product is still relatively new, there is no way to see what the long-term effects are for vaping. Since e-cigarettes do not contain tobacco, they are not subject to the same regulations as cigarettes, and they can legally be purchased by people of any age.
In one study, the Los Angeles Times reported “one out of 10 American high school students used electronic cigarettes in 2012, along with nearly 3% of middle school students, according to a new federal report”. This number has increased dramatically in recent years; and many believe that e-cigarettes are being marketed directly to teens because of the flavors of the vapor and the branding of the product. The FDA warns, “e-cigarettes can increase nicotine addiction among young people and may lead kids to try other tobacco products.”
Interesting fact regarding Nicotine/E-Cigs from: How Stuff Works “An electronic cigarette can contain as much nicotine as a regular cigarette — or more. The amount of nicotine an electronic cigarette delivers depends on the content of the liquid-nicotine cartridge installed in it. Customers can choose cartridges containing nicotine in a range of strengths. Some are comparable to the amount of nicotine in a regular tobacco cigarette; others are closer to that of a light or ultralight cigarette. There are also cartridges that contain liquid without nicotine, for users who want the sensory experience of smoking without its effect.”
What can we do to prevent teens from smoking e-cigarettes?
Education and Communication.
Parents, get involved and talk to your teens. Ask them what they know about cigarettes and e-cigarettes; explain the differences between the two types but that they are share one major similarity: Nicotine. Inquire with your child’s school what kinds of anti-smoking information they disseminate and whether or not it includes “vaping”.
For more information on e-cigarettes and teens, visit: