According to a recent National Youth Tobacco Survey, the percentage of middle and high school minors using e-cigarettes has tripled between 2013 and 2014. The addition of an e-cigarettes section of the Central Berkshire Regional School District’s smoking policy was a topic of conversation at a recent school committee meeting. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention Control is advising parents that nicotine is dangerous to adolescents whether it is an e-cigarette, cigar, or cigarette.
E- cigarettes are battery devices that converts a nicotine-based liquid into a vapor that is inhaled into lungs. E-cigarettes contain nicotine, other chemicals, and sometimes are flavored with bubble gum, chocolate, cotton candy or fruit. These flavorings are especially appealing to the adolescent population.
Adolescents are unfortunately, exposed to e-cigarette advertisements on television. Cigarettes may not be advertised on television but e-cigarettes may be. One television advertisement shows celebrities, Rihanna and Orlando Bloom using e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes are portrayed as being glamorous and cool, appealing to the adolescent.
Unfortunately statistics have shown that the earlier a person starts using nicotine the more likely they are to be addicted to nicotine. Studies have shown that nicotine creates feelings of pleasure, chemically altering the adolescent brain, making the brain more susceptible to nicotine as the adolescent grows older. The use of e-cigarettes which contains nicotine could be a gateway for the use of other tobacco products.
Tobacco remains the leading preventable cause of premature death in the United States. Cigarette smoking can cause stroke, heart disease, lung disorders and reduced fertility.
Nicotine exposure is also harmful to an adolescent’s developing brain and could cause permanent harm to brain development.