More young people are using e-cigarettes
Some regular smokers may consider vaping a better alternative to cigarettes and a way to eventually lower nicotine levels and quit the habit altogether.
However, the long-term effects of vaping aren’t known yet. What’s also troubling is more young people are using e-cigarettes, according to recent data.
Some youth who smoke regularly said they switched from cigarettes to vaping because it didn’t have the same side effects or withdrawal symptoms.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said cigarette use among high school students has dropped considerably, going from 21.8 percent in 2011, to 13.5 percent in 2017. Meanwhile, the Louisiana Youth Tobacco Survey reported that regular e-cigarette use among high school students increased dramatically over the same time frame. It went from one in 50 students in 2011, to one in eight in 2017.
The trend of more young people vaping is evident throughout the country. The National Youth Tobacco Survey reported e-cigarette use rose by 78 percent among high school students from 2017 to 2018. During the same time period, 48 percent more middle school students reported vaping.
These numbers have officials worried, and with good reason. Scott Gottlieb, U.S. Food and Drug Administration commissioner, went so far as to call teen vaping an “epidemic.”
What makes vaping so attractive to teens? For starters, you’re less likely to cough or get headaches as you would from cigarettes. Also, e-cigarettes offer smokers a variety of flavors to choose from, such as strawberry or graham cracker.
Juul is one of the most popular e-cigarettes out there right now. Shaped like a USB flash drive, it’s difficult for teachers to spot them at school. They’ve come under fire because critics, including Gottlieb, have accused the company of marketing to youth with its packaging.
What’s concerning is some young people who get introduced to vaping may be unaware they are being exposed to nicotine at all. They may not realize just how addictive of a habit it can be.
Vaping may help long-time adult smokers finally ditch cigarettes for good, but the fact that more young people are doing it is alarming. More should be done to keep e-cigarettes out of the hands of teens in Louisiana and nationwide.