Electronic Cigarettes Not a ‘Safe Alternative’ for Youngsters

Electronic Cigarettes Not a ‘Safe Alternative’ for YoungstersElectronic Cigarettes Not a ‘Safe Alternative’ for Youngsters

Although heavily promoted as a safer cigarette and an aid to quit smoking, electronic cigarettes and the nicotine they deliver pose particular risks to the developing brains and organs of children. Use of electronic cigarettes by school-age children has surpassed traditional cigarette smoking, and it is critical to recognize and understand the risks related to nicotine exposure, addiction, and the poor regulation of these products, as described in the comprehensive Review article “Electronic Cigarettes: Vulnerability of Youth,” published in the journal Pediatric Allergy, Immunology, and Pulmonology.

Dean E. Schraufnagel, MD, Department of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, provides a detailed look at the composition and varieties of electronic cigarettes and what makes them so appealing to youths. He reviews the available data revealing who are the main users and why, identifying young people in the U.S. as a high-growth market, with use among children doubling in recent years. Schraufnagel describes electronic cigarettes as a potential “gateway to addiction,” as they are often the first tobacco product a youngster tries, with nicotine dependence a common lead-in to abuse of other addictive substances, reports medicalnewstoday.

“Pediatricians play a critical role in the education of children and families. They are considered an important and reliable source of healthcare information. This review provides practitioners with comprehensive information about the dangers of electronic cigarettes and highlights the vulnerability of children to both the intense marketing surrounding e-cigarettes and their pharmacologic effects,” says journal Editor-in-Chief Mary Cataletto, MD, Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, State University of New York at Stony Brook.