E-cigarette usage has skyrocketed in recent years especially among adolescents and teenagers. Officials believe they are causing a new assortment of health risks associated with e-cigarette or “vape” use. Promoted as a healthy alternative to smoking, e-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that deliver nicotine in vaporized form.
The battery-operated devices look like cigarettes but do not burn tobacco. Instead, they use replaceable cartridges with flavors and liquid that contains nicotine. Many advocate the e-cigarettes are a healthy alternative that help smokers quit, but because they are not regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration, there are causes for concern.
Smoking is an addictive behavior that has many long-term health consequences. With no regulation, it is difficult for users of e-cigarettes to fully understand what they are smoking. E-cigarettes have made smoking more visible again and more likely to influence the choices of younger generations.
Why are Parents Concerned with E-Cigarette Use
One of the biggest concerns surrounding e-cigarettes is their accessibility to younger generations. The flashing lights and colors are more appealing and may make some experiment despite never trying traditional cigarettes before. Because adolescents brains are still developing, e-cigarettes may become a gateway for many and more addictive. E-cigarettes also come in flavors (traditional cigarettes have been banned from doing this) which makes them appeal more to younger generations. However, 44% of parents still worry e-cigarettes will lead to smoking tobacco and even encourage teens to begin smoking.
Because they are a relatively new product, the long-term health effects and safety of the product are not entirely known. Without regulation, there is no standard for what the contents of e-cigarettes should be across brands and manufacturers. Many states have begun to put regulations in place to prohibit sales of e-cigarettes to minors.
E-cigarettes are currently facing many critics who are working towards developing laws to regulate the ways they are sold and marketed to the general public. More cause for concern is placed among the likelihood of other risky behaviors developing. Often, adolescents and teens that engage in smoking at young ages are more likely to experiment with other substances, such as alcohol.