Health, Personal Finance

Teens Quitting Traditional Tobacco, But Triple Percentage Increase in E-Cig Use

Teens turning to e-cigs over cigarettes
Despite years of successful anti-smoking advocacy, the number of adolescents using tobacco products could increase given the popularity of electronic cigarettes, also known as personal vaporizers or e-cigs. These battery-powered devices are designed to produce “a similar feel to tobacco smoking” by heating and atomizing a liquid solution that often contain nicotine as well as a number of other chemicals including propylene glycol, glycerin and flavorings. While tobacco use was down from 2013 to 2014, the percentage of teens using e-cigs tripled during the same period of time.

Currently, the risks of electronic cigarette use are unknown and emissions from the devices may contain trace amounts of carcinogens and heavy metals, as well as other toxic substances. One should mention, however, that there is evidence to suggest that e-cigarettes might be safer than “traditional cigarettes.” Still, the data is inconclusive and given the current state of research on the use of e-cigarettes, some researchers have been troubled by the increase in the number of students using e-cigarettes and vaporizers such as hookahs.

In fact, a report commissioned by the CDC demonstrated that despite the “statistically significant decreases [that] occurred in the use of cigarettes, cigars, tobacco pipes, bidis, and snus…The increases in the current use of e-cigarettes and hookahs offset the decreases in current use of other tobacco products.” As Dr. Harold J. Faber, a pediatric pulmonologist told Forbes, “E-cigarettes are the hot new thing” much in the same way that traditional cigarettes were years ago.

The L.A. Times continues that the “colorful designs and candy-store flavors,” provide a way for manufacturers of e-cigarettes hope to attract the attention and interest of teens. Unfortunately, experts now fear that these e-cigarettes, which are defined as tobacco products given that most use nicotine, will become the newest “gateway drug,” inspiring young people to move on to traditional cigarettes and more dangerous products.

Not everyone is alarmed or worried about the CDC’s recent study. Many smokers claim e-cigs have helped them kick the cigarette habit. Michael Siegel, a professor of community health sciences at the Boston University School of Public Health said, “The CDC should be celebrating that we’re seeing a decline in youth smoking…It appears that rather than serving as a gateway toward cigarette smoking, e-cigarettes may actually be acting as a diversion away from cigarettes” and Joe Nocera, in an op-ed piece, criticized the CDC for “equating smoking cigarettes with inhaling e-cigarettes.”

Ultimately, the truth of the matter depends on whether or not e-cigarettes are deemed to be a healthy and safe alternative to smoking. Given the infancy of the research, however, the final verdict is unclear.

(Photo courtesy of Chris F)

7 thoughts on “Teens Quitting Traditional Tobacco, But Triple Percentage Increase in E-Cig Use

  1. Vaping has to be better for you than tobacco with all the nasty stuff that comes in them, but it probably isn’t good for you. It’s not a habit that teens should be starting even if it doesn’t lead to other drugs…liquid nicotine just isn’t good for your body.

  2. the 200 chemicals in cigarettes plus the harmful tar and the REAL smoke is what kills. e cigs are about as harmful as drinking coffee.

  3. How long are they going to say that the side effects are unknown. They have been testing this far longer than e cigs were around. They tested stage fog machines which is the same stuff. Nicotine has also been tested for use in other inhaled products. Why dont these busy bodies find another hobby, like stamp collecting or something. I smoked since I was 13 years old. After switching to ecigs I felt so much better and my lung health was drastically improved. Now, I dont use them anymore since I lowered the nicotine content until it reached zero. I’ve been smoke free since 2009.

  4. E-cigarettes shouldn’t be sold to anyone under the age of 18. People really should use e-cigarettes as a tool to help them quit smoking cigarettes…Or for adults that enjoy nicotine but hate cigarette smoke.

  5. Isn’t the vapor base still made of Propalyne Glycol? It’s not coffee rhonda. I wouldn’t want to smoke antifreeze, but if it’s your thing… keep it the heck away from me.

  6. “The freezing point of water is depressed when mixed with propylene glycol owing to the effects of dissolution of a solute in a solvent (freezing-point depression); in general, glycols are non-corrosive, have very low volatility and very low toxicity…”

    It’s not antifreeze. It is part of a laundry list of ingredients in antifreeze. You people who repeat what the news says without research are quite ignorant. Yes, that is correct usage of ignorant too. Also, spell what you’re attacking properly – it helps your incorrect point.

    I don’t see the formaldehyde argument yet, but to head that one off the researchers used a temperature that was exceptionally unrealistic to inhale. I mean, if I superheat a candle it might very well produce something negative too, but that’s also not realistic.

    Regarding the article, yes teens are trying this in higher numbers because it’s the current fad. When I was in HS it was piercing your tongue. Times change. I support not selling to those <18. Most shops selling vaping equipment that I've seen have that plastered all over their entrances and/or websites.

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