More teenagers are using e-cigarettes than ever before. Numbers published in September 2013 by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that the percentage of middle and high school students who tried e-cigs, or vaping, had doubled, from 3.3 percent in 2011 to 6.8 percent in 2012.
But while e-cigs don’t contain the cancer-causing compounds found in cigarettes and other tobacco products, they’re hardly a healthy alternative. Here are five things that every proactive parent should know about e-cigarettes.
E-Cigs Could Be a Gateway Drug
Findings published in the New England Journal of Medicine warned that e-cigs could be a gateway drug for adolescents. The data obtained by neuroscientist Dr. Eric Kandel and his wife, Dr. Denise Kandel, used lab mice to determine that e-cigs could possibly ready the brain for using illegal drugs like cocaine and marijuana by altering brain chemistry.
They Don’t Help with Quitting Cigarettes
Those who believe e-cigs help them “taper down” from regular cigarettes may not want to read the new research project published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. After examining self-reports from 949 smokers, 88 of whom used e-cigs at the start of the study, the authors concluded that “regulations should prohibit advertising claiming or suggesting that e-cigarettes are effective smoking cessation devices until claims are supported by scientific evidence.”
Vaping Doesn’t Discourage Teen Smoking
A study published last March in JAMA Pediatrics found that adolescents who regularly use e-cigarettes are more likely to smoke regular cigarettes and other tobacco products. The researchers surveyed 17,353 middle and high school students in 2011 and 22,529 young people in 2012, concluding that addicted teen e-cigarette users were more likely to want to quit smoking the following year, but also less likely to not use conventional cigarettes.
E-Cigarette Labels Are Misleading
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration conducted a study on two e-cig manufacturers in 2009 and found that not only were the amounts of nicotine in the product inconsistent with the amount on the label, but that some of the “nicotine-free” products actually contained nicotine. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the New England Journal of Medicine suggested that this misleading information is one of the reasons why e-cigs could serve as a “gateway drug.”
E-Cigarettes Aren’t Completely Safe
The liquid nicotine in these products can spark a wide range of health issues including blood clots, joint pain, insulin resistance and even heart disease.
Additional Reading: 5 Popular Ways to Quit Smoking and How Well They Work
Image Credits: blog.eversmoke/thesmokeblog