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E-Cigs: What Parents Need to Know About the Latest Teen Trend

E-Cigs: What Parents Need to Know About the Latest Teen Trend

By Dana DeMercurio

According to the Center for Disease Control, tobacco kills nearly six million people each year, and more than five million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use. The game-changer was thought to have come to the aid of tobacco users nearly a decade ago with a product that uses water vapor and limited amounts of nicotine. But public health officials are now warning consumers of possible risks, and legislators are quick to respond. 

Since e-cigarettes were introduced to the U.S. market in 2006, there has been a firestorm of controversy swelling among opponents of the tobacco-free device. Several countries have banned the import, sale, and advertising of e-cigs due to known irritants which have the potential to be harmful to the user’s health, including the potentially toxic refillable liquid nicotine capsules.  

What’s proving more damning is that with mounting data and research proving the harmful effects of e-cigs, the FDA has yet to regulate the advertising and sale of the device to minors.

In 2012 alone nearly 1.8 million teens used e-cigarettes – double the year before. With youth-centric advertising and packaging, e-cigs have created a subculture of users under the age of 18. What was once touted as a tool to help smokers quit, the e-cig industry has simultaneously watered down the stigma of smoking to the public’s youth with products such as ‘Cookies & Cream Milkshake’ flavored nicotine cartridges.     

Because the adolescent brain is more susceptible to nicotine than the adult brain, this rising trend should be taken seriously by adults.  Parents should educate their kids about e-cigs and inform them of the cancer-causing elements they contain. Be clear that smoking of any kind will not be permitted in the household, and be on the look-out for known associated side effects, such as dry coughs and throat irritation, as these might be signs your child is using an e-cig device.