Though many think e-cigarettes are helping to reduce the number of smokers in the US, research is showing the opposite is true when it comes to teens. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released data showing that in just one year the number of middle and high school students using e-cigarettes has tripled.
"The development and marketing of e-cigarettes has the potential of hooking a whole new generation on nicotine," said Garry Sigman, MD, director of the Loyola University Health System Adolescent Medicine Program and professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. "Nicotine is extremely addictive causing the body to crave more and more. This leads to other health issues including lung disease, heart disease, hypertension as well as effects on the nervous system."
According to Sigman it's important for parents to have a frank talk with their adolescents about the dangers of e-cigarettes.
"Parents need to ensure their children know the use of e-cigarettes should be viewed the same as other addictive substances. Nicotine is so addictive that with only a few inhales it can create an addiction," said Sigman.
So much of an adolescent's world revolves around electronics and technology and the modern aspect of this nicotine delivery system draws them to it. Sigman suggests parents talk to their teens about the dangers and work together to create rules and boundaries. Teens must understand that e-cigarettes are harmful to their health and that the cigarettes contain a poisonous substance that is combined with unsafe chemical mixtures.
"Parents cannot completely counteract the advertising and marketing campaigns targeted to youth, but they can arm themselves and their kids with knowledge. Setting rules and monitoring behavior is essential to keeping our teens safe," Sigman said.
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