Among teens, e-cigarettes are more popular than any traditional tobacco product. In 2017, 11% of high school students had used an e-cigarette in the past 30 days. By 2018, that number had risen to 21% and, by 2019, 27.5% of high school students had used e-cigarettes in the past month. The current use rate among middle schoolers rose from 0.6% in 2011 to 10.5% in 2019. Several teens believe e-cigarettes are less harmful than traditional cigarettes, but this is not true. Because both products contain nicotine, e-cigarettes are just as addicting as traditional cigarettes. A 2016 national survey found that among youth and young adult e-cigarette users aged 13-25, more than half (55.9%) used another tobacco product in addition to e-cigarettes. The use of any tobacco product, including e-cigarettes, is unsafe for young people.
What are the risks of using e-cigarettes?
- Becoming a dual user (using tobacco cigarettes and e-cigarettes at the same time)
- Lung damage
- Withdrawal symptoms – including irritability, sleep disturbances, craving, increased appetite and attention deficits
- Using nicotine in adolescence can harm the parts of the brain that control attention, learning, mood, and impulse control
- Using nicotine in adolescence may also increase risk for future addiction to other drugs
- Pregnant women who use nicotine are at a greater risk for stillbirth and preterm delivery
- Scientists are still learning about the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes
(Sources: Truth Initiative, John Hopkins Medicine, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)