In recent years, the U.S tobacco consumption amongst teens has risen to its all-time high. Also during the past several years, researchers and advocates have continued to highlight the harmful effects and the lack of benefits of the use of e-cigarettes.
“These products are now the most commonly used form of tobacco among youth in the United States, surpassing conventional tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco and hookahs,” says Dr. Vivek H. Murthy.
Dr. Murthy also confirmed that the use of e-cigarettes among high school students increased by 900% from 2011 to 2015, and vaping among young adults has doubled within the last year. E-cigarettes cause harmful effects including addiction, and acts as a gateway to other tobacco products and drugs. This rise in teen and youth smoking e-cigarettes is a problem, because according to researchers and physicians, brain development is still happening in this age group. Even though majority of the brain is developed at the age of five, e-cigarette use still can create some serious health concerns.
According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, e-cigarettes don’t fill the lungs with smoke. This creates a miscommunication for many cigarette smokers, as they believe e-cigarettes are a healthy alternative to traditional tobacco with no negative effects. However, e- cigarettes are still just as addictive as traditional cigarettes, and toxic when consumed in high doses. All nicotine affects the brain, nervous system, and heart. It raises blood pressure and heart rates. Many teens aren’t responsible enough to monitor their intake of nicotine which continues to raise the risk and epidemic of tobacco-related death and illnesses.
“I never thought I would be a nicotine consumer, I hated it,” says Karandeep Gill, a Health Science Major at CSUS. “I was a frequent hookah user because of the flavor. Once I tried e-cigarettes flavors, I was hooked. I started using e-cigarettes my freshmen year and two years later, I still don’t want to quit.”
Today’s society may have lowered the traditional cigarette consumption epidemic tremendously. However, a new trend is beginning with e-cigarettes. This form of nicotine is on the rise in becoming it’s own epidemic if not controlled. For example, taxes have been increased on cigarettes in the past, which has helped lower the consumption immensely. In order to stop the rise amongst teens the federal, state, and local government needs to take a stand to regulate this harmful substance, not only through cost but by also regulating the marketing and advertising to teens. Just like in the past, tobacco companies have created colorful, catchy, cool logos and advertisement that’s not enticing to adults but aimed to teens. This is why regulating e-cigarettes must be taken seriously because the rise in teen use will continue to grow. It’s up to our community in Sacramento to regulate teens having access to the e-cigarettes.
For anyone in their local community right here in Sacramento in regards to raising age or getting more regulations of e-cigarettes marketing contact the California State Legislature Office.