Teen use of e-cigarettes doubled 2011 to 2012

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- The use of electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes by middle- and high-school students more than doubled from 2011 to 2012, according to a report on WebMD.

Rather than using electronic cigarettes as a substitute for tobacco, 76 percent of young e-cigarette users also smoked regular cigarettes.

Children in high school and junior high are experimenting with e-cigarettes at an alarming increase from one year to another.

The growing use of e-cigarettes by children is troubling. One of the dangers of e-cigarettes is they may encourage children to try real cigarettes. E-cigarettes are easy to buy because their sale is not restricted and they can be sold anywhere. A teen who tries even one real cigarette is doubling their chances of becoming a smoker.

E-cigarettes lead to smoking real cigarettes, and increase the risk of smoking.

There is no upside to teens being exposed to cigarettes.

E-cigarettes will addict children to nicotine at a time when their brains are still developing. The adolescent brain is uniquely susceptible to addiction and nicotine is harmful to brain development, according to the findings in the CDC journal Morbidity and Mortality Report.

E-cigarette manufacturers contend that they only market to existing smokers as a way to quit the habit.

The increased use of e-cigarettes by teens is deeply troubling since nicotine is a highly addictive drug. Many teens that start with e-cigarettes may be condemned to struggling with a lifelong addiction to nicotine and conventional cigarettes.

E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that deliver nicotine along with other additives. They are not currently regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Electronic cigarettes should not be sold or marketed to minors.

Some e-cigarettes have been marketed as smoking-cessation aids, but there’s no scientific evidence that they help people quit smoking.

Electronic cigarettes work about as well as nicotine patches in helping smokers kick the habit. E-cigarettes helped people smoke fewer cigarettes overall, even if they didn’t quit completely.

The findings published in the Lancet medical journal are not quite enough to make public health experts embrace e-cigarettes. You may be trading one addiction for another.

Dr. Art Mollen's practice is located at 16100 N. 71st St. in Scottsdale. For more information, call 480-656-0016 or log on to www.drartmollen.com.