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Healthy You

Up in Smoke: The Truth About Teens and E-Cigarettes

Thursday, April 25, 2019 3:42 PM

Cigarettes aren’t as “in” among teens as they used to be. The number of high school students who smoke has declined significantly over the past few decades. However, there are other nicotine-filled risks on the rise. Known as “vaping” or “Juuling,” e-cigarettes are especially attractive to teens because of their flavors and sleek design (some look like a pen or USB flash drive and can be accessorized with different skins).  

“Many teens assume that since they don’t look or smell like traditional cigarettes,
e-cigarettes are safer,” said NorthShore Cardiologist Joseph Messer, MD. “But they still contain nicotine and, since they’re so new, we don’t even know what their long-term health effects may be.” Talk with your teens about the dangers of e-cigarettes. Start with these facts:

• Each cartridge contains as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes.
• Using e-cigarettes can lead to addiction and harm the developing brain.
• E-cigarettes may contain other chemicals, such as lead and formaldehyde, which can damage the lungs and cause cancer.

If you notice your teens using e-cigarettes, encourage them to quit.