E-cigarettes are posing a threat to youths

E- cigarettes was initially a product targeted to smokers who wanted to quit the habit, but has now become increasingly mainstream as it is touted as being a safe alternative to traditional cigarettes. For smoking adults, then, the benefits seem manifold, as e-cigarettes do not involve the combustion of tobacco. But one commonly overlooked fact is the harm posed by these e-cigarette to children.

Enticing flavors

Increasingly new flavors are being released in the market, ranging from vanilla to cherry and berry. Although the major companies claim otherwise, these flavors seem to be produced exclusively for children. The release of these new flavors has caused a worrying spike in the number of individuals smoking e-cigarettes, as evidenced by CDC’s study, where the number of calls to poison centres due to e-cigarettes increased from one per month in September 2010 to 215 per month in February 2014. Amongst the callers to poison centres, approximately 51.1 % involve children below the age of five.

http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2014/p0403-e-cigarette-poison.html

Addictive

Although e-cigarettes lack tobacco and tar present in conventional cigarettes, it doesn’t mean that they are harmless per se. quite the contrary, e-cigarettes often contain nicotine, which causes addiction in both smokers and non-smokers alike. The flavors – cherry, vanilla etc. – are pungent enough to mask the smell and taste of nicotine, deliberately misleading the masses to believe that e-cigarettes are harmless. Granted, for novice smokers, it may even serve as a transitory product of sorts, enticing young smokers to move on to traditional cigarettes.

Advertising

Besides the quirky flavors, companies producing e-cigarettes are appealing to youths through targeted advertisements featuring renowned celebrities and offering free tickets for famous concerts. Their marketing strategy appears to have worked, as the number of high school students using e-cigarettes increased from 1.5% to 2.8% between 2011 and 2012, as evidenced by a recent CDC report. As if that isn’t enough, there has been recent reports surfacing of e-cigarette advertisements appearing in iPad games.

Liquid Nicotine

Despite the claims that e-cigarettes are safe as they typically do not produce second-hand smoke, the liquid nicotine present in e-cigarette are actually highly potent. It is harmful when inhaled, ingested or when absorbed into the skin. Small doses are sufficient to pose hazards and may even be lethal to adults and children alike. As mentioned above, liquid nicotine was related to the 215 poisoning calls per month to poisoning centers, Such a threat seems too obvious to be missed.

Lack of proper control

Unlike traditional cigarettes and alcohol, e-cigarettes are not regulated by the FDA and may therefore be freely sold to individuals even if they do not possess a valid ID. As one of the major legal drugs for youths, it is no wonder that e-cigarette brands are targeting the youth market and making a huge buck out of it. Unfortunately, a lack of proper guidelines also means that the substances present in e-cigarettes may often be prohibited substances that pose a threat to human health. Reports from the FDA has also shown that the liquid nicotine content in e-cigarettes may also differ significantly from the doses shown on the label. Therefore, with e-cigarettes you often get more than you bargained for, but with dire consequences.

With all the vices listed above, it would be appropriate to conclude that e-cigarettes are as bad, if not worse than traditional cigarettes, and that it would do you good to stay away from them, whether you’re a full-fledged adult or a budding youth.