With the rise of electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes, tobacco use has suddenly started increasing again among teens. This follows a long period of decline after extended public health efforts to teach students about the dangers of smoking cigarettes. E-cigarettes have introduced kids to the idea of “vaping,” or consuming tobacco via liquid pods that are vaporized by the e-cigarette and then inhaled.
Students are led to believe by the e-cigarette manufacturer that these products are safer than cigarettes because they rely on water vapor, not smoke, to deliver nicotine through the lungs. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Although the method of delivery may mean that consumers are no longer exposed to the heat or tar of many traditional cigarettes, introducing any substance into the lungs other than air still poses health risks, including damage to the lungs themselves. It also does nothing to reduce the other health impacts of tobacco itself on the body overall, including hypertension, hardened blood vessels, heart problems, and so on.
Manufacturers have targeted young people with fruity or candy flavors that have silly names, in an effort to make their e-cigarettes and accessories seem harmless. This can mislead parents, too, who may not realize there is tobacco in the liquid pods with names like “Cotton Candy Crush.”