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5 Things Parents Should Know About E-Cigarettes

No 1: There's No Such Thing as a 'Safer' Cigarette 

By Feather Linn, BSE, MS 
Tobacco Outreach Prevention Specialist, Arkansas Children's 

 

While our 20th-century ancestors once thought otherwise, we today know that there is in fact no safe cigarette. The idea of being able to safely ingest nicotine, a chemical more addictive than heroine, without any adverse effects on the human body is a myth so epic that it rivals the Sasquatch. Yet, here we are well into the 21st century and people are asking if the most recent evolution of the cigarette is safe. 

 

E-cigarettes are one of a rapidly growing number of devices used to deliver nicotine into the body. The devices range in cost from less than $10 to over $100 and are commonly referred to collectively as ENDS (electronic nicotine delivery systems). To vape, or vaping, is the act of using an ENDS.  

 

The popularity of ENDS among youth and young adults often stems from a culture in which ENDS are used competitively and recreationally. The habit of vaping is almost always normalized by a youth’s peer group and substantiated by parents who do not know enough about vaping to prohibit its use. 

 

With our mission of making children better today and healthier tomorrow, here are five things every parent needs to know about children and vaping. 

  1. E-juice is nicotine-laced – The juice used in ENDS is a nicotine-laced liquid flavor compound. The liquid is vaporized, but not burned, by a heating element to produce an aerosol that delivers nicotine to the user.   
  2. E-juice is poisonous to children – One teaspoon of liquid nicotine can be lethal to a child, and children who touch or absorb nicotine-laced juice in their skin or eyes often have to seek emergency medical treatment.  
  3. Flavorings are NOT approved for inhalation – There are over 10,000 e-juice liquid flavoring compounds on the market today. While the FDA approves some of those as additives for ingestion, it approves NONE of the flavors for inhalation.  
  4. ENDS are inconspicuous – The devices used to inhale nicotine are often designed to look very similar to ordinary objects such as pens, pointers and inhalers. Some devices are created so that other additives such as marijuana, or other deadly drugs, can be easily added. 
  5. ENDS do NOT reduce the effects of secondhand smoke – There is no conclusive evidence that supports the theory that those around the aerosols emitted from ENDS, or vaping, is safer than that of cigarettes.  

Sources: 

Mash, The. "Vape Culture Attracts Teens, Poses Harmful Risks." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 29 Sept. 2016. Web. 17 Oct. 2016.

Shaffer, Leah. "Vaping Is Far From Harmless." PBS. PBS, 21 June 2016. Web. 17 Oct. 2016

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