Did you know?
Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are in a category of devices called ENDS, electronic nicotine delivery systems. E-cigarettes are cigarette-shaped devices containing a nicotine-based liquid that is heated into a vapor that can be inhaled. E-liquids usually contain nicotine, propylene glycol, flavoring, and other chemicals.
Why should I be concerned?
E-liquids come in a variety of flavors, such as apple, mint, bubble gum, grape, and blueberry, which are appealing to youth, and use among teens has increased at dramatic rates. An e-cigarette can contain as much nicotine as regular cigarette, if not more. Although federal regulations have been approved, there currently are no requirements for manufacturers to disclose the ingredients in e-liquids to the consumer, so a consumer has no way of knowing what potentially harmful chemicals are being inhaled. Nicotine is highly addictive for kids, especially during adolescence.
Until recently, there were no laws regulating e-cigarettes. In 2016, a number of regulations were approved by the FDA, which will go into effect during the next three years. E-cigarettes, which previously had no age restrictions, may no longer be sold to minors, effective August 2016. Between 2017 and 2019, e-cigarette manufacturers will have to report the product ingredients and quantities to the FDA, and will be required to print a warning statement on packages and advertisements.
What can I do?
- Be clear with your kids that smoking of any kind if off-limits.
- Educate your kids that e-cigarettes usually contain nicotine, which is a highly addictive substance, as well as a stimulant. They should know that cancer-causing chemicals are found in e-cigarette cartridges.
- It can be difficult to know if your teen is using e-cigarettes, but e-cigarettes have been associated with dry cough, as well as mouth and throat irritation. If your teen is suffering from these symptoms, and there is no other known cause, you might want to investigate the possibility of e-cigarette use.
- Search for images of e-cigarettes and e-liquids online so you know what they look like and can identify them.
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