There is no evidence that e-cigarettes are safer than traditional cigarettes or help current smokers quit smoking, and a new study published January 23 in the journal Pediatrics suggests that they might actually be drawing in teenagers who otherwise would likely have never considered smoking.
The study findings were based on an ongoing federal survey reviewing tobacco use among U.S. teenagers in grades six through 12. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco’s Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education concluded that many of the kids who used e-cigarettes had never smoked traditional cigarettes, and were actually considered low risk for starting because they did not report living with a smoker or thinking that smoking makes a person appear “cool.”
What are E-Cigarettes?
Electronic cigarettes, commonly known as e-cigarettes, are battery-powered devices that deliver nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals through a vapor rather than tobacco smoke. The devices are extremely popular with teenagers, increasing in use by 900 percent among U.S. high school students, according to a December 2016 report compiled by the U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy.
In 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) passed the Tobacco Control Act, which banned the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, but have taken no steps to address the appealing flavors, television ads, or health claims.
Statement Denounces E-Cigarettes, Other Tobacco Products
In a joint statement released in mid-December, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Physicians, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the AMA applauded the report on electronic cigarettes issued by the surgeon general. “We call on our physician members to provide advice to all children and adolescents on the dangers of tobacco use before they experiment with smoking,” the statement said.