Vaping is not harmless. That’s the message the U.S. Surgeon General wants to get across with a recent warning that teen vaping has become a health epidemic.
E-cigarettes are devices that vaporize liquids. The devices hold chemicals and flavors, including kid-friendly flavors like types of candy and fruit. And most contain liquid nicotine. The user inhales the vaporized mist.
They’ve become very popular with young people. Vaping by high school students grew 78 percent between 2017 and 2018. In 2018, 1 in 5 high school students used e-cigarettes. And vaping by middle school students increased by 50 percent during the same period.
But many young people don’t know the risks they’re taking, according to Yale Medicine. They don’t think vaping is harmful, even though e-cigarettes contain nicotine, the same addictive drug that’s in regular cigarettes. Studies show that most teens have no idea what’s in e-cigarettes.
To make matters worse, once they start using the products, some reports suggest they may also be more likely to smoke regular cigarettes.
Sales of e-cigarettes began in 2007. Since 2014, they have been the most common tobacco product used by U.S. youth, while their use of traditional cigarettes has declined.
Although e-cigarettes aren’t as harmful as regular cigarettes, they are far from harmless. “Any e-cigarette use among young people is unsafe, even if they do not progress to future cigarette smoking,” says the Surgeon General.