The report released Thursday by the U.S. surgeon general focuses on Americans under the age of 25, the cohort that has embraced e-cigarettes with the most enthusiasm. Teens and young adults are more likely to be using the vaping devices than people in any other age group. Indeed, among middle and high school students, e-cigarettes have become more popular than traditional cigarettes.
These trends are alarming to public health officials for several reasons. Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has been warning for years that e-cigarettes have the potential to get kids hooked on nicotine, paving the way for them to “graduate” to regular smoking and setting themselves up for a lifetime of addiction. About 90% of adult smokers say they started smoking as teens.
Plus, mounting scientific evidence suggests the adolescent brain is uniquely vulnerable to the harmful effects of nicotine. Among other problems, nicotine exposure can lead to “reduced impulse control, deficits in attention and cognition, and mood disorders,” Dr. Vivek Murthy, the surgeon general, wrote in a preface to the report.And as for that age bracket using them to quite smoking actual cigarettes - seems not to be the case:
Among young adults 18 to 25, 55% of electronic cigarette users also smoke regular cigarettes, according to CDC data from 2013 and 2014. Although older smokers often use e-cigarettes to help them kick the habit, this is not a common practice for young adults, the report says.Some heavy regulation, at the very least, would be well deserved.
What with the young brains of American growing up in a country where both marijuana and nicotine are sold, and promoted in capitalist fashion, I don't think this augurs well for the future of the country socially or economically.