Teen Use of E-Cigarettes Continue to Rise

On average U.S teen smoking rates are at an all-time high these past several years. A recent article by CNN confirms the harmful risk for teens consuming e cigarettes. The new research and information conducted by one of the nation’s top doctors aims to encourage teens to not smoke 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, the US surgeon general.

Dr. Murthy also confirmed that the use of e-cigarettes use among high school students increased by 900% from 2011 to 2015, and vaping among young adults has doubled. E- cigarettes cause harmful effects including addiction and, acting as a gateway to other tobacco products and drugs. Since the rise is mainly from middle school to high school grade level, which means that group is more vulnerable because of brain development. Teens may have majority of their brain development but the harmful effects of an e-cigarette is creating new issues to arise.

The numbers suggest that rather than prompting teenagers to replace cigarette smoking with vaping, e-cigarettes instead have enticed teenagers to use nicotine. The problem now is according to Murphy, teens brains are still being developed at this adolescent stage. Young people who consume nicotine disrupt their neurotransmitter activity and it becomes highly addictive, particularly in a developing brain. Research conducted by the Journal of Pediatrics found that liquids inhaled contain solvents, formaldehyde and other ingredients that pose health risks when inhaled.

The U.S Department of Health and Human Services found e-cigarettes may not be as harmful as cigarettes. Since your lungs aren’t being harshly filled with smoke. However, that doesn’t make them a healthy alternative to regular cigarettes. Many people believe that because the e-cigarettes are a way for many smokers to wean themselves off of cigarettes that they are harmless, but it is still an addictive drug that is toxic if consumed in high doses. What we do know is that nicotine affects the brain, nervous system, and heart. It raises blood pressure and heart rate. The larger the dose of nicotine, the more a teen’s blood pressure and heart rate go up.

“I usually just always was a frequent hookah user, but once I started to notice e-cigarettes had flavors that started to entice me to try”. Karandeep Gill Health Science Major at CSUS.“I started using e-cigarettes and I don’t plan on quitting!”

Today’s generation of leaders and community need to help conquer this new trend e-cigarette has created. Just as taxes were increased on tobacco products in the past, it’s up to the federal, state, and local government to take a stand and regulate this substance. There is a complete lack of government oversight which is allowing tobacco industries to continue to market to children. Tobacco companies are targeted kids through promotion using colorful, sweet flavors, and grasping their attention with exciting logos. Also engaging teen’s interest with themes of independence, rebellion, and sex. The only way that promotion of ads like these can be stopped is taking action to regulate the ads and marketing targets. In the past tobacco companies have promoted cigarettes to young people in the past, but now it’s time to shift gears and urge the FDA to regulate e-cigarettes.