By: Shalini Forbis, MD
Electronic cigarette (e-cigs) use is on the rise. They are being touted as an aid in stopping cigarette smoking. They are also preferred because there is no cigarette smoke or the many other cancer-causing chemicals found in tobacco products including cigarettes, etc.
However, in September, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a statement that use of e-cigs had doubled from 2011- 2012. This included a rise from 4.7% to 10% of teenagers who had tried an electronic cigarette and recent use had doubled. In addition, use among middle school children had also doubled. 1.78 million teens and preteens tried e-cigs in 2012. The release goes on to state that over 90% of smokers start smoking in their teenage years.
So, teens are trying e-cigarettes. Is this really a big deal? You don’t have to deal with the cigarette smoke and all the added carcinogens. Although this is true, the main ingredient in e-cigarettes is nicotine.
Nicotine has been linked to:
- Nicotine addiction, intoxication
- Blood vessel disease, including the arteries of your heart
- Increased risk of stroke
- High blood pressure and its complications
- Delayed wound healing
- Peptic Ulcer disease
- Esophageal reflux
- Reproductive problems, spontaneous abortions, prematurity
Although many of the harmful effects of tobacco products are avoided by e-cigs there are still some major side effects to nicotine. This, coupled with the potential to develop nicotine addiction from this product should keep parents alert to these products and to include discussion of them when discussing tobacco use with preteens and teens.
Here are links to details on the information above: