The use of electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes has grown exponentially in recent years—especially among young adults in the United States.
The liquid used in e-cigarettes contains nicotine and other harmful chemicals, including heavy metals and carcinogens. The liquid nicotine used in e-cigarettes comes in thousands of different flavors, many of which are appealing—and harmful—to teenagers.
Researchers from the University of California, San Diego found that popular fruity vape flavors appear to contain the highest levels of cancer-causing materials. The study recommends that parents warn teens of the dangers associated with e-cigarettes to discourage usage.
When electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, first entered the market, there were few rules regulating who they could be sold to and what warnings (if any) they must carry. In recent years, concerns about the safety of e-cigarettes has grown and many have criticized e-cigarette manufacturers for targeting teenagers with candy-like flavors like cookies and cream, chocolate and birthday cake.
On May 5, 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that e-cigarettes and other tobacco products, like hookahs, will be regulated in the same way that traditional cigarettes are. Retailers will now be required to verify that all e- cigarette customers are at least 18 years old, and they will no longer be able to distribute free samples to customers.
Previously, there were no regulations about disclosing the ingredients in e-cigarettes. Under the new rule, all manufacturers will be required to list what is in their products. E-cigarettes must also now carry warnings that they contain the addictive substance, nicotine, and they must come in child- resistant packaging.
In addition, all e-cigarettes that went on sale after February 2007 must gain FDA approval. Considering the fact that the e-cigarette market was virtually non-existent before 2007, this means that every e-cigarette, as well as every flavor and nicotine level, will need to be approved. This could be a very time-intensive and expensive process for companies. E-cigarette manufacturers will have two years to gain FDA approval.
E-cigarettes have become increasingly popular in recent years. While many adult smokers switch to e-cigarettes in an attempt to quit tobacco, teenagers are the largest and fastest growing population for e-cigarette use. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products reported that e-cigarette use among teens tripled in 2014.
While e-cigarettes are commonly believed to be a safer alternative to regular cigarettes, very little is known about their effect on the body. Research has found that e-cigarette vapors produce particles containing harmful chemicals. These chemicals can harm lung tissue and worsen acute respiratory diseases such as asthma and bronchitis. Consider limiting your use of e-cigarettes until further research has been conducted.