Teenage e-cigarette users on the rise
The most recent data from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, between the years of 2013 and 2014, shows e-cigarette usage has tripled among middle and high school students.
The survey shows that high school students have used an e-cigarette as least once in the past 30 days. This number was only 4.5 percent in 2013 and then climbed to record setting 13.4 percent in 2014. That is a jump from 660,000 students up to 2 million students. The numbers are even more astonishing for middle school students. In 2011, less than 1 percent of students used e-cigarettes — the rates are clearly on the rise.
Dr Thomas Friden, the director of the CDC, weighed in on the topic: “No form of youth tobacco use is safe. Nicotine is an addictive drug and use during adolescence may cause lasting harm to brain development.”
“Money is a factor here,” suggests Bonnie Herzog, an analyst with Wells Fargo. She claims that in 2015, a total about $3.3 billion was spent by United States citizens on e-cigarettes and related products. Perhaps there could be a financial link between the lack of information readily available on the current ingredients used e-cigarettes such as e-liquids, nicotine levels, fuel, and flavors and financial gains the tobacco companies have seen over time. What if we knew all the details of what is really in e-cigarettes, would we so willingly buy them then?
Even with all of this data, educators are still fighting the marketing campaigns that suggest e-cigarettes being less harmful than normal cigarettes. It has become apparent that many teenages are accepting this marketing statement at face value.
In 2014, a report was released by the Surgeon General warned people about the dangers of electronic nicotine devices: “[E-cigarettes are] more likely to be beneficial only in an environment where the appeal, accessibility, promotion, and use of cigarettes and other combustive tobacco products are being rapidly reduced.”
Yet, the battle doesn’t end there. E-Cigarettes are specifically designed to target a younger audience with their colorful and playful appearance. The packaging often resembles of fun cereals and tempting flavors, like rocky road and cherry cheesecake.
Kenneth Warner, a public health professor at University of Michigan, weighed in on this topic, “We do not have any strong evidence that it is encouraging smoking among kids but neither do we have good evidence that it won’t over time.”
How do you feel about our youth’s exposure to e-cigarettes? Let’s talk here, or find me on Instagram @Become_Bright_Within