Dangers of teens and e-cigarettes

Caring For Our Kids

E-cigarette sales are exploding and studies show more teens are using them. The trend is alarming parents and doctors. E-cigarettes are one of many electronic nicotine delivery systems sold alongside tobacco producx and in specialty vaping stores. The FDA is just beginning to regulate e-cigarettes. 

An e-cigarette is a battery-operated device that creates a mist or vapor that is inhaled instead of smoke. A rechargeable battery powers a heating element called an atomizer, which contains propylene glycol, glycerin, food flavoring and nicotine and possibly other chemicals. 

Dr. Katy Stordahl with East Tennessee Children’s Hospital says teens simply don’t think they are as addictive or dangerous as regular tobacco cigarettes, and they are wrong. Nicotine is addictive no matter how it is delivered into your system. Also, they come in hundreds of flavors, such as bubble gum and milk chocolate, which is attractive to kids.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has been pushing for FDA regulations on e-cigarettes and other vaping devices for several years. The vapor in most e-cigarettes contains nicotine and other unknown chemicals. Nicotine is an ingredient that must be disclosed. It is highly addictive. How much nicotine or other harmful chemicals has not been known because the specific contents of the vapor were proprietary. That is changing now that the FDA is looking at all ingredients of new products hitting the market.

Stordahl says e-liquid, with or without nicotine, can damage lung tissue when inhaled. Long term health consequences of use is unknown. E-cigarettes may serve as a point of entry into uses of other nicotine products. E-cigarettes and other nicotine delivery devices contain batteries and liquid chemicals which, if swallowed, could cause serious health complications. 

You must be at least 18 to purchase e-cigarettes in Tennessee. It is not illegal for people to smoke e-cigarettes in public places like stores or restaurants, but each business has the right to ban their use.

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