A new study reveals that a staggering number of teens have tried e-cigarettes, the electronic cigarettes designed to replace more dangerous tobacco products.
The study, which involved just over 10,000 teens and was carried out between 2012 and 2014, found that, in 2014, more than one in ten teens had used e-cigarettes. That’s up substantially from 2012, when only eight-percent of teens had tried the devices.
E-cigarettes remain controversial products. Defenders insist that they help people quit smoking by providing a similar sensation without the toxins found in a typical cigarette. However, critics say that e-cigarettes mimic smoking and can encourage young people to try tobacco cigarettes down the road.
Dr. Jonathan Klein, the study’s lead researcher and an executive director at the American Academy of Pediatrics, is a critic of e-cigarettes.
“Electronic cigarettes are of great concern,” Klein says. “They are highly addictive nicotine delivery devices, and the vapor can and does cause harm to the lungs.”
Klein’s report insists that we need to learn more about e-cigarettes. Not only does that mean new research on the subject, but legislation capable of managing their distribution, sale, and usage.
“Adolescent use of alternative tobacco products is problematic among current smokers, as it may prolong or worsen nicotine addiction. It is also problematic among nonsmokers, as it may serve as a gateway to further tobacco use and nicotine addiction,” Klein said.
“Our study shows that e-cigarette use is increasing rapidly, and this should be a wake-up call for regulating these devices along with all other tobacco products,” he added.