Young People, Old Problems: Why E-Cigarettes Are Lighting Up A New Generation


With many high-schoolers– and even middle-schoolers– “vaping” as the inhalation of vapors from electronic cigarettes is now called, on a leisurely and more-consistent-than-you’d-like-to-think basis, the question has arisen: should we permit manufacturers to tempt our youth with a nicotine-stuffed device that can actually give way to addiction of conventional cigarettes?

Many researches worry that e-cigarettes are a gateway for nicotine addiction, particularly for the young. In a study consisting of nearly 40,000 youth from across the nation, Lauren M. Dutra, ScD and Stanton A. Glantz, PhD of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at UCSF realized that e-cigarette use fails to discourage– and could even encourage— conventional cigarette use among U.S. youth.

The anti-cigarette movement has fought the tobacco industry long enough to know that trusting e-cigarette manufacturers to do the right thing for America’s children is a foolhardy decision. The years it took before the tobacco industry simply admitted that smoking caused cancer is proof enough.

“When we look at 95 percent of individuals that smoke cigarettes, they all started that initiation before age 21,” says Dr. Janie Heath, Associate dean and professor of nursing at the University of Virginia School of Nursing. “So, there’s the likelihood of these younger ones starting on electronic cigarettes, and wanting to have more and more of a hit.”

Besides, Dr. Heath continues, “It’s harder to help an individual quit smoking than it is to get them off crack cocaine, heroin or any of the other drugs.”

The hope is for people who these young kids look up to to resist the temptation of marketing e-cigarettes in magazines and movies, as their endorsement alone could have a huge impact on the youth.

As the nation patiently awaits the scientific proof showing how harmful vaping is for our health, it’s time to keep our middle and high schoolers away from a horrifying addiction that can only result in poor health– and perhaps even death.


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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Terry Ozon

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