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E-cigarettes lead to more smoking in teens

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E-cigarettes lead to more smoking in teens

E-cigarettes which are becoming more popular may be the gateway for new smokers, including teens.

E-cigarettes which are becoming more popular may be the gateway for new smokers, including teens.

E-cigarettes which are becoming more popular may be the gateway for new smokers, including teens.

E-cigarettes which are becoming more popular may be the gateway for new smokers, including teens.

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The use of electronic cigarettes has grown significantly within the last year among young teens. The device simulates tobacco smoking by vaporizing a liquid solution that contains various flavors and nicotine.

“I do see adults use e-cigs but I also see high school students use them too, which I think is really stupid on their part because their brains aren’t even fully developed yet and and they don’t know what the long-term effects are yet because it’s still new.  I think the main reason why students use them is to look cool,” said junior Jamie Toler.

Studies conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reveal the number of teenagers who tried e-cigarettes within the past few years has doubled. The study surveyed over 35,000 middle and high school students. In 2011, only 3.1 percent of that group had ever tried an e-cig. A mere 1.7 percent had also smoked a real cigarette.

In 2012  reports showed 6.5 percent of adolescents had tried the device while 2.6 percent used them along with cigarettes.

The purpose of the electronic cigarette was to provide an easier transition for tobacco smokers to quit the habit. However, the device still contains nicotine, an addictive ingredient.

“I think that students look towards e-cigs because  it’s advertised as nicotine or vapor-free. It makes it seem more acceptable for teens to be smoking something. I don’t think that students who use e-cigs are interested in trying or have tried real cigarettes because they are so caught up in the ‘fad’ of e-cigs. It would look ‘uncool’ for teenagers to smoke real cigarettes. E-cigs do influence their chances of smoking real tobacco because eventually their bodies will get used to smoking and will be driven to a greater need for a stronger product,” said junior Megan Garcia.

Lauren Dutra, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California at San Francisco in the Center for Tobacco Research and Education, sees e-cigarettes as worsening the situation of young tobacco users.

“We are seeing the use of e-cigarettes among adolescents rapidly increasing, and it doesn’t seem like they’re using these products to successfully quit smoking.  I can’t say e-cigarette use causes kids to smoke based on this finding. We need some more longitudinal data on this, but it does look like these devices are contributing to it,” said Dutra.

“I began using e-cigarettes towards the end of 2012 and it’s a much better alternative than tobacco smoking for me. However, I find a lot of young kids are using them because it seems to be trending, and although it is a safer alternative than smoking tobacco, they don’t really know what they might be potentially dragging themselves into. I kind of see it as a gateway in today’s high schools, introducing kids to the cool idea of smoking,” said Andrew Lopez, IT staff.

Aina Katsikas, Editor, Reporter

Aina Katsikas is a senior and second-year member of the Ka Leo staff. She is an 11-year veteran of the Academy and is currently Student Body president....

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E-cigarettes lead to more smoking in teens