Author: Shernide Delva
If you thought the popularity of vaping was going down, I have news for you. It’s not.
In fact, a new report revealed that e-cigarette use specifically among adolescents is now a “major public health concern.” E-cigarette use among high school students has increased 900% since 2011.
While young people are not the only ones using e-cigarettes, that particular demographic is the most concerning. Adolescents are still in an early stage of development, and the harms of e-cigarette use remain up in the air. Some believe they are safer than cigarettes, but their simply is not enough evidence to confirm that. Several studies present clear dangers associated with e-cigarette smoking. Still, the numbers continue to climb.
The Surgeon General Report: “Major Public Health Concern”
Not only has e-cigarette use skyrocketed among young people, but it also has exceeded cigarette use in popularity. E-cigarettes are the most common tobacco product for adolescents, period.
Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek H. Murthy declared e-cigarette use among adolescents a “major public health concern.”
In a press conference, Vivek said:
“Adolescent brains are particularly sensitive to nicotine’s effects,” and it can cause “a constellation of nicotine-induced neural and behavioral alterations.”
One of the concerns regarding e-cigarettes is that they are a gateway to smoking regular e-cigarettes as well.
In the Surgeon General’s report, Vivek was especially alarmed by reports from 2011 to 2015 which showed:
- A 900% increase of e-cigarette use among high school students.
- 16% of high school students use e-cigarettes compared to 13.4% the previous year.
- Close to 38% of high school students admitted to trying e-cigarettes at least once.
The two areas of concern are the effects of nicotine on developing brains, and the marketing strategies of e-cigarette companies. E-cigarettes are marketing in a similar fashion as regular cigarettes. They tend to target younger audiences. Also, because e-cigarettes are flavored with flavors like cotton candy, they are more appealing to young people.
A report in AAP News and Journals states that the surge in e-cigarette use occurred because adolescents enjoyed the flavors you can smoke with the e-cigarettes. While The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009 banned cigarettes from coming in different flavors, the law does not apply to e-cigarettes.
Flavored e-cigarettes have become hugely popular. There are currently over 7,000 flavors available, and many of the flavors like “candy crush” and “bubble gum” clearly appeal to a younger audience. At a time where regular cigarette use is at an all-time low, adults and adolescents are now turning to e-cigarettes because most believe it is a much safer alternative.
The Stance From the CDC
Last May, regulations were passed to regulate the use of e-cigarettes; however, these changes could take several years to take hold. In the meantime, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has urged a “call to action” pleading these regulations to go into effect as well as calling for more policies against e-cigarettes that are intended to deter adolescents from trying them.
The dangers of e-cigarettes remain up in the air however recent research is far from promising. Although there is a possibility that e-cigarettes are less harmful than cigarettes, we still do not know for sure. When cigarettes were first introduced to the market, the consensus on them was that they were safe. Even doctors would smoke cigarettes and smoking cigarettes was acceptable on airplanes. Clearly, a lot has changed since then!
E-cigarettes are soaring in popularity, yet the studies on them remain inconclusive. Staying away from smoking altogether is ideal. If you are trying to quit smoking, reach out to support group for help. Do not give up. You do not have to do this on your own. Call toll-free today.