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E-Cigarettes: US Surgeon General Alarmed By Increasing Number Of Teen 'Vapers'

First Posted: Dec 09, 2016 04:42 AM EST
E-Cigarette
E-Cigarettes are already common to teens.
(Photo : Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

The U.S. surgeon general warns that e-cigarettes have become an emerging public health concern among the youth.

U.S. News reported that Surgeon General Vivek Murthy calls for more in-depth research regarding the effects of e-cigarettes to a person's health, saying that these smoking devices are not harmless and many of the nation's teens comprise a large percentage of users.

Murthy added that contrary to people's beliefs, the aerosol produced by the vaporizer could be harmful to the smoker and even to second-hand inhalers since the water vapor often produces nicotine and other chemical compounds. Murthy's report suggests that e-cigarettes are the most widely used tobacco-related product for teens and could possibly trigger addiction to nicotine.

"My concern is e-cigarettes have the potential to create a whole new generation of kids who are addicted to nicotine," Murthy told The Associated Press. "If that leads to the use of other tobacco-related products, then we are going to be moving backward instead of forward."

Nicotine is known to be harmful to a developing brain, he warned. Aside from nicotine, e-cigarettes also have other dangerous ingredients such as other edible chemicals that are not advisable to inhale and toxic substances that are dangerous to ingest. The American Lung Association reported that there have been a number of cases linked to poisoning due to accidental ingestion of e-cigarette liquids.

Another study conducted by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention between 2014 and 2015 also says that the use of e-cigarette among high school students has increased by 19 percent. In fact, many of these students do not even use e-cigarettes as an alternative to regular cigarettes.

The tobacco industry has been marketing e-cigarettes aggressively to the youth, idealizing the use of e-cigarettes in advertisements and even offering candy flavors like bubble gum and gummy bears.

While regular cigarettes are not legally sold to minors, a study published in Jama Pediatrics reported that it is easy for teens to buy e-cigarettes online.

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