Use of E-Cigarettes by Young People is Major Concern, Surgeon General Declares

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The United States Surgeon General reported that the rising use of e-cigarettes among youth is becoming a huge public health concern. The report published Thursday is the first comprehensive look at the issue from the U.S. highest public health authority, revealing that e-cigarettes are surpassing the tobacco ones, becoming the most commonly used tobacco product among young people.

These cigarettes are turning nicotine into inhalable vapor and can harm teenage users’ developing brains. What’s more, animal studies have shown that they can also create a dangerous aerosol, which is harmful to those around the e-cigarette smokers.

According to the report, being especially sensitive to the effects of nicotine, adolescent brains can experience numerous nicotine-induced behavioral and neural alterations. This concern urged stronger action to prevent e-cigarettes from being easily available to young people.

Even though cigarette smoking among young people has dropped dramatically over the past few years, the use of nicotine products has remained the same.

The report didn’t address the e-cigarette use among adults, and the most doubtful problem of whether the technology has offered an effective way to help traditional cigarette users quit their unhealthy habit. Although the report didn’t break new ground in science, the public health advocates believe the surgeon general’s voice marked a milestone.

The President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Matthew Myers, said the report is the most objective and comprehensive answer to the question of whether the use of e-cigarettes is a serious concern that needs government action. Taking the findings into consideration, he believes the answer is ‘yes’.

Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, the surgeon general, said that the use of e-cigarettes among high school students has risen by a shocking 900% from 2011 to 2015. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention research says the report noticed the number of high school students – users of e-cigarettes, has increased from 13.4 % in 2014 to 16% in 2015. What’s more, almost 38% of all high students said they have tried these artificial cigarettes at least once.

The professor in the school of public health at Georgia State University, Terry Pechacek, explains that nicotine is harmful to the developing adolescents’ brain, as proven in many animal studies. But, he believes the risk is less than nicotine combined with carcinogenic combustion in real cigarettes.

The report of the surgeon general has echoed other research reports – that the e-cigarette industry worth $3.5 billion, has copied the tobacco industry’s marketing strategies which have proved to be appealing to young people. The journal Pediatrics has published a recent study, according which smoking flavored e-cigarettes is more harmful than smoking traditional ones.

C.D.C. reports that for the first time in 50 years, the use of traditional cigarettes has lowered below 40 million Americans. When it comes to adult e-cigarette smokers, their risk is far less than in adolescents, as e-cigarettes don’t rely on combustion, unlike the traditional ones which lead to 480,000 deaths annually.

According to C.D.C., the sharpest drop in smoking traditional cigarettes was among youth, although the rise in smoking e-cigarettes hasn’t been proven to be the reason for this drop, as stated by the researchers.

The report urges the FDA to put previously approved regulations into effect. Although the final rules regarding e-cigarettes were passed in May, it might take several years until they start functioning.

It calls for additional policies such as better education among parents, coaches, and teachers about the e-cigarette risks, or including them in national programs aimed to deter youth from smoking real cigarettes.

Via Green Wich Family

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