Contrary to popular belief and according to the Centers for Disease Control, the use of e-cigarettes is unsafe for kids, teens, and young adults. E-cigarettes are often referred to as e-cigs, vapes, e-hookahs, or vape pens. They may resemble USB flash drives, pens, traditional cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. These devices are the most commonly used tobacco product among high school and middle school students in the United States. Among high school students, current e-cigarette use increased from 1.5% (220,000 students) in 2011 to 20.8% (3.05 million students) in 2018. For middle school students, current e-cigarette use increased from 0.6% in 2011 (60,000 students) to 4.9% (570,000 students) in 2018. Last year the Food and Drug Administration declared that youth vaping has become an epidemic. Get the facts and talk to your family about e-cigarettes!
The American Lung Association provides us with the following vital information in order to have an informed discussion with our children based on the facts.
What Are E-Cigarettes?
Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, include e-pens, e-pipes, e-hookah, and e-cigars are known collectively as ENDS – electronic nicotine delivery systems. According to the FDA, e-cigarettes are devices that allow users to inhale an aerosol containing nicotine or other substances.
Unlike traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes are generally battery-operated and use a heating element to heat e-liquid from a refillable cartridge, releasing a chemical-filled aerosol.
What’s in E-Cigarettes?
The main component of e-cigarettes is the e-liquid contained in cartridges. To create an e-liquid, nicotine is extracted from tobacco and mixed with a base (usually propylene glycol), and may also include flavorings, colorings and other chemicals.
Are E-Cigarettes a Gateway to Youth Smoking?
The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine concluded there is “substantial evidence” that if a youth or young adult uses an e-cigarette, they are at increased risk of using traditional cigarettes.
What Are the Health Consequences of E-Cigarette Use?
A recent study from the University of North Carolina found that even in small doses, inhaling the two primary ingredients found in e-cigarettes – propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin – is likely to expose users to a high level of toxins and that the more ingredients a user is inhaling, the greater the toxicity.
The mid-to-long-term consequences of e-cigarettes are not yet known, as it’s a new product and has been sold for less than a decade in the U.S. While much remains to be determined about these lasting health consequences of these products, we are very troubled by what we see so far. The inhalation of harmful chemicals can cause irreversible lung damage and lung diseases.
Can E-Cigarettes Help Smokers Quit?
The Food and Drug Administration has not found any e-cigarette to be safe and effective in helping smokers quit. If smokers are ready to quit smoking for good, they should call 1-800-QUITNOW or talk with their doctor about finding the best way to quit using proven methods and FDA-approved treatments and counseling.
How Can Smokers Quit?
The American Lung Association believes everyone who uses tobacco products can quit using methods that are proven safe and effective by the FDA, including the seven FDA-approved medications and individual, phone (available by calling 1-800-QUITNOW and 1-800-LUNGUSA) and group counseling (such as the Lung Association’s Freedom from Smoking® program).
Are There Risks of Secondhand E-Cigarette Emissions?
In 2016, the Surgeon General concluded that secondhand emissions contain, “nicotine; ultrafine particles; flavorings such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to serious lung disease; volatile organic compounds such as benzene, which is found in car exhaust; and heavy metals, such as nickel, tin, and lead.”