Chances are you’ve heard about e-cigarettes. These battery-power devices have become so popular that the word “vape” was the Oxford Dictionary’s Word of the Year in 2014. They’re also incredibly popular among teens—which is pretty worrisome. In the past three years, the amount of middle and high school students using e-cigarettes has tripled.
While these devices aren’t regulated by the FDA yet, more and more evidence is surfacing about the potential dangers of e-cigs—including the fact that they can act as a gateway drug. This means all the more reason to educate teens about these products.
Most recently, a new study found that emissions from e-cigarettes harm the lung tissues, and specific flavors of the e-juice (such as cinnamon) are more toxic to the lungs. Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center found that the e-cigs’ aerosols and flavorings create harmful free radicals and inflammation in lung tissues, according to Science Daily.
In a press release, the University of Rochester Medical Center explains the findings:
The investigation suggests the harm begins when the e-cigarette’s heating element is activated. The heating element is designed to turn a liquid solution (known as an e-liquid or “juice”) into an aerosol that mimics cigarette smoke. The inhaled vapors contain heavy metals and other possible carcinogens in the form of nanoparticles — tiny particulate matter that can reach farther into lung tissue, cell systems, and blood stream.
Yikes! None of that sounds good. For more about this study, click here.
To get your teens to think critically about e-cigs and what we do (and don’t know) about these devices, share the E-Cigarettes: Can They Kill You Too story with them! It was featured in the February issue of Choices.
Choices is a teen health, well-being, and life skills magazine published by Scholastic.