(Mirror Daily, United States) – Seeing that electronic cigarettes have only recently started to become more popular, their short- and long-term health effects are still mostly unknown, but researchers are scrambling to understand usage trends of the nicotine-vaporizing gadgets.
Although many hope that e-cigarettes are the path to quitting the harmful habit of smoking by offering a somewhat healthier alternative, the focus is now on how vaping affects children and teenagers. In light of these concerns, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued a new official recommendation today, saying that e-cigarettes should only be sold to people 21 years and older.
Same goes for all “electronic nicotine delivery systems” (ENDS) and other tobacco products, as the prevalence of ENDS’ usage among the younger demographic is a clear threat to the efforts of the past five decades to deglamorize, restrict, and decrease the use of tobacco products.
During a recent presentation on e-cigarettes held by the AAP, Tom Frieden, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the health of adult smokers who switch to e-cigarettes is bound to be improved, as recent, albeit small studies seem to suggest already.
However, on the other hand, there’s the problem of teenagers who were unlikely to become smokers but who have begun using e-cigarettes – their likelihood to start using combustible tobacco is significantly greater. Even though the smoking of traditional tobacco among the youth is on the decline, each year there are more teenagers interested in vaping.
According to the CDC, 13.4 percent of high school students and 3.9 percent of middle school students have reported smoking e-cigarettes at least one in the past month in 2014. Both these percentages have increased about three-fold increase from 2013.
In spite of the e-cigs ability to deliver adjustable doses of nicotine, researchers fear they will become the hook that threatens kids’ health for life. At the same time, pediatricians have long known that nicotine is not only highly addictive for all, but also has neurotoxic effects on the developing adolescent brain.
And it’s not just the nicotine factor that raises concerns in the medical community. Vaporizing liquid and flavorings could also increase exposure metals, formaldehyde and other contaminants. While additives like peanut butter cup, cotton candy, sour blue raspberry, banana, and cream pie all sound good – and safe – when it comes to food, there’s little information on how they can harm the body via inhalation.
Image Source: Flickr
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