According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), current vaping or ENDS (electronic nicotine delivery system) use among high school students tripled nationwide from 2013 to 2014. Nearly 10 percent of high school students in Alabama say they have used ENDS in the past 30 days!
Should you be concerned?
We asked FOCUS.
Isn’t vaping better than smoking?
Most e-cigarette companies market their product as a tool to help smokers quit. However, the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research has not approved e-cigarettes as a means to quit. Often cigarette manufacturers use clever marketing such as producing flavored tobacco in forms similar to candy or mints in order to attract potential young customers. Similarly, flavored vaping may be considered a gateway to cigarette smoking, introducing the habit to teens who otherwise would never have tried it.
And e-cigs aren’t just linked to cigarette smoking—an association between vaping and illegal drug use exists as well as vaporizing pens become the new way to get high discreetly, often right under the nose of parents and other adults. As a result, synthetic drug overdoses are increasing, with vaping devices frequently being found in drug busts across the country.
What exactly is in there?
Many people may assume that e-cigs are safe since they don’t contain tobacco. The truth is e-cigarettes have not been around long enough for us to know the long-term health risks, though the harmful ingredients give plenty of reason for concern.
Though they don’t contain tobacco, e-cigarettes do contain nicotine, a very addictive substance that has a negative impact on adolescent brain development. In addition, the American Lung Association points out that the refillable cartridges release other harmful chemicals into the user’s lungs in aerosol form, including carcinogens and lung irritants.
If they’re so harmful, why aren’t they more closely regulated?
E-cigarette manufacturers will be required to register with FDA by August 8, 2016, after which they will have two additional years to submit an application to remain in the marketplace. Until that time, the nearly 500 brands and 700 flavors of e-cigarettes will remain on the market even though the long-term health risks have not been evaluated.
FOCUS schools provide opportunities for students to network with other students statewide, develop leadership skills, and lead activities for the prevention of adolescent risk behaviors. Find more info about how to register as a FOCUS school by visiting www.thefocusprogram.com.