There's been a significant increase in electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use in recent years, particularly among kids and teens. According to the Rockwood Drug-Free Coalition (DFC), e-cigarettes come in many forms and are known by different names, including "e-cigs," "e-hookahs," "mods," "vape pens," "vapes," "tank systems," and "electronic nicotine delivery systems" (ENDS).
Many of the products are battery-operated devices designed to deliver nicotine, flavorings and other chemicals in the form of an aerosol that users inhale. As part of Red Ribbon Week, the Drug-Free Coalition encourages parents to understand the misperceptions about e-cigarettes.
MYTH: E-cigarettes are safe.
FACT: E-cigarettes use poses a significant and avoidable health risk.
Nearly 500 brands and 7,700 flavors of e-cigarettes are on the market. Besides increasing the possibility of addiction and long-term harm to brain development and respiratory health, e-cigarette use is associated with the use of other tobacco products that can do even more damage to the body. Even breathing e-cigarette aerosol that someone else has exhaled poses potential health risks.
MYTH: E-cigarettes don't have nicotine.
FACT: Almost all e-cigarettes contain nicotine.
Studies have shown wide-ranging nicotine levels in e-cigarettes. What's coming out of an e-cigarette (aerosol) may look different than secondhand smoke from cigarettes, but it's far from harmless. The Surgeon General warns e-cigarette emissions can contain harmful chemicals, including nicotine and volatile organic compounds. Children are particularly vulnerable because of their developing lungs—and nicotine is always harmful to adolescent brain development.
MYTH: E-cigarettes aren't marketed to kids.
FACT: E-cigarette use among middle and high school students in the United States continues to grow.
With aggressive industry tactics such as cartoon characters and candy flavors including bubble gum, fruit loops, chocolate and strawberry, it's no surprise studies show a dramatic increase in kids using e-cigarettes. For the first time ever, teens are smoking e-cigarettes more than traditional cigarettes. In the United States, the use of e-cigarettes is higher among high school students than adults.
Parents: Are you talking to your kids about e-cigarettes and vaping?
It is a great resource to start the conversation!
Michelle Li, a Rockwood student , serves on the Drug-Free Coalition and has been working on legislation to raise the legal age of purchase for tobacco products to 21. She believes that smoke-free ordinances are crucial to raise awareness in the community and help save the lives of potential smokers. "Our youth are beginning to understand the severity of their decisions and the harmful effects of secondhand smoke from various tobacco products," she shares. "Prevention is a continuous uphill battle, but the glory of the journey is brightened when my fellow educated students return to join the prevention effort."