Posts Tagged ‘e-cigarettes’

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Most people are aware of the dangers and health risks associated with smoking.  Over the last several years this has caused the consumption rate to experience a steady down turn.  The tobacco industry has rallied back by creating and introducing a sleeker, sexier, new product known as e-cigarettes.  E-cigarettes have grown to be the most commonly used tobacco product among U.S. middle and high school students.  The U.S. Surgeon General reported in 2018, more than 3.6 million U.S. youth, including 1 in 5 high school students and 1 in 20 middle school students, currently use e-cigarettes.  Adults are not immune to this trend, a whopping 10.8 million adults use e-cigarettes in the U.S.  Even more shocking, one study published by the American College of Physicians reported 15% of e-cigarette users had never smoked cigarettes before.

Trying to make sense of what has been referred to by the U.S. Surgeon General, Jerome M. Adams, as an “e-cigarettes epidemic” can be quite confusing and overwhelming.  The National Institute of Drug Abuse defines an electronic cigarette as an e-cigarette, e-vaporizer, or electronic nicotine delivery system which are battery-operated devices that people use to inhale an aerosol.  They typically contain nicotine, flavorings, and other harmful chemicals.  There are over 450 different e-cigarette brands on the market but some common nicknames for them include: e-cigs, e-hookahs, hookah pens, vapes, vape pens, and mods.

You might be asking yourself, “What is the appeal of e-cigarettes”? People cite several different reasons for using e-cigarettes but some of the most popular include: 

  1. The taste – there are over 15,000 different e-liquid flavors containing nicotine and other chemicals such as:  propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, benzaldehyde, cinnamaldehyde, etc.
  2. Curiosity – currently there are no restrictions on e-cigarette marketing like there is on tobacco products
  3. Accessibility – e-cigarettes can easily be purchased on the internet by minors
  4. Friends and/or family use them – most youth report receiving their device from friend/family with a positive message of no harmful risks associated
  5. The belief that they are less harmful than other forms of tobacco – e-cigarettes are highly addictive, contain harmful cancer-causing chemicals, and damage the brain and lungs

Most health organizations and officials agree it is still too early to know the potential long-term impacts of e-cigarettes.  According to the American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society, there is evolving evidence supporting negative impacts including irreversible lung damage, lung disease, addiction, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases.  While only time will reveal the overall negative health consequences, the CDC suggest practicing the following prevention strategies:  be tobacco-free, talk to your kids, friends, and family about why e-cigarettes are harmful for them, and let your children know you want them to stay away from all tobacco products because they are not safe. 

Author: Lorrissa Dunfee, Family & Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Belmont County

Reviewer: Alisha Barton, Family & Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Miami County


“The 3 Main Reasons Youth Use e-Cigarettes.” Truth Initiative, 2018, truthinitiative.org/research-resources/emerging-tobacco-products/3-main-reasons-youth-use-e-cigarettes.

Mirbolouk, Mohammadhassan, et al. “Prevalence and Distribution of E-Cigarette Use Among U.S. Adults: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2016.” Annals of Internal Medicine, American College of Physicians, 2 Oct. 2018, annals.org/aim/article-abstract/2698112/prevalence-distribution-e-cigarette-use-among-u-s-adults-behavioral.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Electronic Cigarettes (E-Cigarettes).” NIDA, 2018, http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/electronic-cigarettes-e-cigarettes.

Surgeon General’s Advisory on E-Cigarette Use Among Youth. e-cigarettes.surgeongeneral.gov/documents/surgeon-generals-advisory-on-e-cigarette-use-among-youth-2018.pdf.

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