was driving down a street near my house the other day and noted a giant sign at
a local convenience store advertising that they sell e-cigarettes. I have to admit to not knowing a lot about
e-cigarettes, so I decided to learn more—and what I learned was a little
frightening. But I also found some tips on the subject from the American
Academy of Pediatrics (AAP News,
November 2013) to pass on to you.
What are e-cigarettes?
Electronic cigarettes (also
known as e-cigs) gained popularity several years ago with adults who wished to
stop smoking. E-cigs were initially touted as an aid to smoking cessation.
cigarettes are advertised as a way to help smokers quit. They are sold in many
colors, shapes, sizes, and flavors, such as vanilla, chocolate, and peach
schnapps. The devices have a battery, a vaporizer, and a cartridge that team up
together to produce a fine mist or vapor that is inhaled. Smoking e-cigarettes
is known as “vaping.”
What’s in that mist?
Good old nicotine,
which happens to be one of the most addictive substances on earth.
And who is using e-cigs?
Apparently, some of our kids are.
usage has rapidly multiplied among middle- and high-school students over the
past few years. A survey by the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that about 1 in every 10 high-school
students admitted having used an e-cigarette.
What’s the risk?
are not regulated or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
and so their makers don't have to follow the same rules as with other nicotine
products. This means that the amount of nicotine and other harmful ingredients
in each cartridge can vary.
addition, it’s easy for kids to buy e-cigs.
More than half of states allow kids of any age to purchase e-cigarettes, and
they’re also easy to buy online and in kiosks at the mall.
can then easily become hooked on the nicotine,
which could then spur them on to start smoking regular (and cheaper) cigarettes as well.
What should parents do?
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) urges parents to talk with their kids
about the dangers of e-cigarettes. Most cartridges contain 20 milligrams (mg)
of nicotine—when as little as 10 mg of nicotine can be fatal for a child.
to the AAP, parents who think their child may be using e-cigarettes should
watch for signs of nicotine addiction. These include
not being able to quit
who are trying to quit smoking themselves should avoid using e-cigarettes and should
try other options that are approved by the FDA, such as nicotine patches and