E-cigarettes are exploding in popularity and are being used by both adolescents and adults. These products are not a safe alternative to cigarette smoking.
What are e-cigarettes?
E-cigarettes, personal vaporizers, vape pens, e-cigars, pod systems, e-hookah, or vaping devices, produce aerosolized liquid that contains nicotine and other substances inhaled by the user. They can resemble traditional tobacco products like cigarettes, cigars, pipes, or common gadgets like flashlights, flash drives, or pens.
The liquid solution used in e-cigarettes is usually flavored and appeals to children and adolescents. While flavors were nationally banned in 2019, this ban excludes mint and menthol flavors. Additionally, this ban excludes disposable e-cigarette devices, which are sold in many appealing flavors, are relatively inexpensive, and are increasingly popular with adolescents.
How common are e-cigarettes?
E-cigarettes are the most commonly-used tobacco product among teens. In 2020, e-cigarettes remained the most common tobacco product used by high school (20%) and middle school (5%) students in the last 30 days. Children are exposed to e-cigarette advertising in the media, and in magazines and billboards. Although it is illegal for e-cigarettes to be sold to youth under age 21, they can be ordered online.
Why e-cigarettes are not safe
- The solution in e-cigarette devices and vapor contains harmful chemicals like antifreeze (made from one of two chemicals: propylene glycol or ethylene glycol), diethylene glycol, and aldehydes (like formaldehyde) which is ranked as one of the most significant cardiovascular toxins also found in cigarette smoke
- Secondhand smoke/vapor from e-cigarettes is harmful to growing lungs. In fact, studies show long-term, measurable effects on lung health, function, and development.
- The nicotine in e-cigarettes is addictive and can harm brain development.
- Youth who use e-cigarettes are more likely to smoke traditional cigarettes in the future.
- In some cases, e-cigarette devices have exploded, causing burns or fires.
- E-cigarettes can be used to smoke or “vape” marijuana, herbs, waxes, and oils.
- Due to the lack of regulation, the chemical compounds in an e-cigarette device can vary between brands.
Are e-cigarettes good way to help quit smoking?
E-cigarettes are not recommended as a way to quit smoking. They are not yet regulated nor approved for smoking cessation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The long-term health effects to users and bystanders are still unknown.
The best way to protect your children is to never smoke or vape near them. Talk with your doctor about quitting all tobacco. Never smoke indoors, in your car, or in places that children spend time.
It’s important to help protect children and teens people from using or being exposed to the harmful vapor from e-cigarettes. Talk with your pediatrician for more information about these products and keeping your child safe and healthy.