e-Cigarette Use by Youth

e-Cigarettes are increasingly popular among teens. Some states have banned sale of e-cigarettes to minors, but teens have been ordering them online. Their easy availability (online or via mall kiosks), in addition to their wide array of cartridge flavors (such as coffee, mint, candy, and fruit flavors), have helped make them particularly appealing to this age group. As a part of the FDA’s new regulation to protect the health of our youth, minors will no longer be able to buy e-cigarettes in person or online.
In addition to the unknown health effects, early evidence suggests that e-cigarette use may serve as an introductory product for youth who then go on to use other tobacco products, including conventional cigarettes, which are known to cause disease and lead to premature death. A recent study showed that students who have used e-cigarettes by the time they start 9th grade are more likely than others to start smoking traditional cigarettes and other smokable tobacco products within the next year (Rigotti, 2015).
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Electronic cigarettes (also called e-cigarettes or electronic nicotine delivery systems) are battery-operated devices designed to deliver nicotine with flavorings and other chemicals to users in vapor instead of smoke. They can be manufactured to resemble traditional tobacco cigarettes, cigars or pipes, or even everyday items like pens or USB memory sticks; newer devices, such as those with fillable tanks, may look different. More than 250 different e-cigarette brands are currently on the market.
While e-cigarettes are often promoted as safer alternatives to traditional cigarettes, which deliver nicotine by burning tobacco, little is actually known yet about the health risks of using these devices.
How do e-cigarettes work?
Most e-cigarettes consist of three different components, including:
-a cartridge, which holds a liquid solution containing varying amounts of nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals
-a heating device (vaporizer)
-a power source (usually a battery)

In many e-cigarettes, puffing activates the battery-powered heating device, which vaporizes the liquid in the cartridge. The resulting aerosol or vapor is then inhaled (called “vaping”).
Are e-cigarettes safer than conventional cigarettes?
Unfortunately, this question is difficult to answer because insufficient information is available on these new products.
Cigarette smoking remains the leading preventable cause of sickness and mortality, responsible for over 400,000 deaths in the United States each year. The worst health consequences associated with smoking (e.g., cancer and heart disease) are linked to inhalation of tar and other chemicals produced by tobacco combustion; the pleasurable, reinforcing, and addictive properties of smoking are produced mostly by the nicotine contained in tobacco.
Government Regulation of e-Cigarettes