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E-Cigarettes: The risk of use among youth

What do you need to know?

Electronic cigarettes or E-Cigarettes (e-cigs) have become increasingly popular among teens and young adults in recent years and vaping became a new fad of a younger generation. E-Cigarettes go with different names such as JUUL, e-hookahs, vape pens, and electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS). Despite the belief that vapor is produced from e-cigs, the devices create aerosols that is inhaled into the lungs.

Is E-Cigarettes safe for use in teens and young adults?

E-Cigarettes expose teens to so many health risks. Many may not know that e-cigs contain nicotine, a highly addictive substance that can affect adolescents brain development and can cause adverse effects on lungs, and heart , in addition to containing other harmful substances such as tetrahydrocannbiol (THC) that can cause serious health problems. In 2019, healthcare experts linked vaping products use with the appearance of a severe lung disease known as e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injury, or EVALI. Because of the harm it can cause, the American Cancer Society (ACS) provides a position statement on E-Cigarettes, “ no young person should start using any tobacco products including e-cigs. “ E-cigs pose more threat on health of users and the harms are becoming increasingly apparent. In addition, CDC recommends that E-Cigarettes or vaping products (nicotine or Tetrahydrocannabinol-THC) should never be used by youths, young adults, or women who are pregnant.

Is E-Cigarettes a better alternative for smoking cessation?

E-Cigarettes is not an alternative to smoking cessation as many believe. No scientific evidence has shown that e-cigs help in quitting smoking. According to American Cancer Society, e-cigs should not be used to quit smoking. Currently, E-cigarettes are not approved by FDA for smoking cessation and it is very important not to switch from using regular tobacco cigarettes to E-Cigarettes if you are planning to quit smoking. Although tobacco companies promote its use by flavoring the chemicals found in e-cigs as marketing strategy to attract younger generation and make it appealing to teens and young adults, FDA prohibits any flavored products and has not granted approval that they can be used for smoking cessation.

How to help teens not to use E-Cigarettes and quit tobacco use?

  1. Educate your self. Parents should educate themselves about E-Cigarettes and know the risks associated with it since it is increasing in popularity among teens and young adults. parents should read more about it and reach out to experts for more information.
  2. Take action to protect your child. Talk to your child at an early age about the dangers of e-cigs and don’t assume your kids are still young and will not use it. Explain to them the harm nicotine and other components in e-cigs can do to their brain development. Do not make educating your child about the risks one time approach. Keep talking about it on regular basis and watch for peer pressure.
  3. Be a role Model. Try to quit smoking if you are a smoker and explain to your children the struggle of quitting. Be clear about your stance against using E-Cigarettes, or any tobacco products, and be firm about it.
  4. Warn about dual use. If you know your teen is smoking, warn them about the risks of dual use” E-Cigarettes and tobacco and the harm that comes from it. Monitor your child for symptoms (e.g., persistent cough, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, chest pain) and promptly seek medical attention.
  5. Seek help. If you are unable to help your child quit smoking, seek professional help as consulting with a health care provider, calling quitline, and seeking counseling.

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