The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention recently announced that the number of youth who have tried e-cigarettes doubled between 2011 and 2012. And one-tenth of high school students who admitted to using e-cigarettes currently also smoke traditional cigarettes.
Is this just the beginning? Will e-cigarettes just lead more kids to pick up a cigarette? Will we then see an increase in youth smoking rates next year? Given these new numbers, I’m concerned that e-cigarettes will only serve as nicotine starter kits for our youth.
Sold in dozens of candy and fruit flavors that appeal to kids, e-cigarettes are now available in most convenience stores. Retailers don’t need a license to sell them, and they are considerable cheaper than traditional cigarettes.
Yet very little is known about their actual health risks. The type of liquid nicotine that is used in e-cigarettes is not standardized, and the FDA has warned that e-cigarettes contain carcinogen and toxic chemicals.
More teens are e-smoking, and we must not risk their switching to deadly cigarettes. Big Tobacco has already been successful in luring young cigarette smokers: 20,000 public high school students and almost 100,000 young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 currently smoke in New York City.
Let’s not forget that nicotine is a very addictive drug. We must protect our youth from becoming addicted to it. We won’t let their future go up in smoke…or vapor.