- E‐cigarettes, available in the US since around 2007, are battery powered devices that provide the user with an aerosolized dosage of nicotine, flavor, and other chemicals. Other common names for an e‐cigarette include vaporizer, vape pen, electronic hookah, hookah pen and JUUL.
- Aside from some state and local laws that restrict access to minors, e‐cigarettes are currently unregulated from a health and safety standpoint. Due to their unregulated status, youth are again being inundated with advertising for a tobacco‐linked product. The FDA regulates traditional tobacco products like cigarettes, cigars and smokeless tobacco, and is currently in the rule making phase of a process to regulate e‐cigarettes as tobacco products.
- E‐cigarettes are included in most school districts’ Tobacco Free Schools policy, which means that use of electronic vaping devices is not allowed on school property or at school sponsored events.
- The amount of nicotine in refillable bottles containing e‐liquid juice doesn’t always match what it says on the label, particularly if the label says “nicotine‐free.” The alarming increase of nicotine poisonings among children under 5 years of age highlights another significant risk of e-cigarette use, an increase that is due in part to increased use of e‐cigarettes by youth and the increasingly popular refillable tank devices.
- Nicotine, aside from being extremely addictive, poses a significant risk to human health. Nicotine is linked to heart disease, immune suppression, and changes to the structure of the adolescent brain, which may explain why early exposure to smoking is significantly likely to lead to a lifelong struggle with nicotine addiction.
- Testing has shown that e‐juice contains some of the same cancer causing chemicals that cigarettes do. Additionally, the vapor from e‐cigarettes contains chemicals that can damage lung cells, cause respiratory issues, and are linked to chronic lung disease. Because e‐cigarettes are so new, their long term impact on human health is unknown.
- E‐cigarettes are incredibly attractive to youth and stand poised to undo successes made in the reduction of youth tobacco use. Teen smoking rates continue to drop, which is great news. At the same time, e‐cigarettes use among youth is a rapidly growing problem. While e‐cigarettes may be a way for long‐time adult smokers to quit, a claim that is still unproven, youth don’t use cigarettes as cessation devices. In fact, many youth who would never use cigarettes try out e-cigarettes because they are curious about them and don’t see them as harmful, and then continue to use them.
- Research suggests that even if youth have never smoked before trying e‐cigarettes, they are more likely to try cigarettes in the future. A recent longitudinal study of teens in L.A. found that teens who try e‐cigarettes are significantly more likely to try cigarettes or other tobacco products within a year of initiating use and become long‐term smokers. A 2012 study of young adults in Colorado (18‐24) who smoke found that 54% also used e‐cigarettes.
Find more information about “JUULing” here: http://www.gunnisoncounty.org/863/JUUL