Flavored e-cigarettes are wreaking havoc on teens. A study just released in the Journal of Pediatrics finds that “many teenagers who never would have smoked cigarettes are now ‘vaping’ flavored e-cigarettes, leading to a new generation using nicotine at rates not seen since the 1990s.”
According to University of Southern California researchers, “the rate of teenagers using nicotine — either through tobacco cigarettes or e-cigarettes — is on the rise” at 14%, which is the highest it has been since 1995.
Electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) have experienced a meteoric rise in sales since first entering the US market in 2007. E-cigs are electrical devices that vaporize propylene or polyethylene glycol–based liquid solution into an aerosol mist containing various concentrations of nicotine.
E-How damaging are e-cigs? The medical community is only beginning understand the lifelong effects of nicotine on the developing brains of teenagers. The problem is nicotine, and according to the American Lung Association:
Nicotine is an addictive substance, and almost all e-cigarettes contain nicotine. Nicotine is not safe. The U.S. Surgeon General has found that it has a negative impact on adolescent brain development. Human brain development continues far longer than was previously realized, and nicotine use during adolescence and young adulthood has been associated with lasting cognitive and behavioral impairments, including effects on working memory and attention.
"Vape" shops are big business. Revenues from e-cig sales are expected to reach $10 billion by 2017. The majority of e-cig users are young people. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the prevalence of use of e-cigs increased 9-fold—from 1.5% to 13.4%—among high school students between 2011 and 2014, and now exceeds the use of conventional cigarettes (9.2%).