Monthly Archives: September 2013

Number of teenagers using e-cigs on rise

Among the growing concerns of e-cigs is the amount of teenagers using them, or at least having tried them. Don’t blame the kids, it’s totally legal! Well, in most places at least.

Apart from teenagers being able to legally buy e-cigs in most states in the US and Europe, there is another problem – the internet! So even in states where laws have been made to prevent the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, kids can  easily get around this and order the gadgets and their accessories (i.e. e-liquid) online.

The Stats: Research by CDC found 10 percent of high schoolers in US reported smoking e-cigarettes in 2013; double the amount in 2011 (Reuters, 2013).

Places e-cigs are NOT sold to minors: Twelve states in US have prevented the sale of e-cigs to minors: California, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin. New York banned e-cigarette smoking within 100 feet of an entrance to a public or private school (Reuters, 2013).

European Parliament is looking to impose tight laws on e-cig sales to minors, a decision will be made by early October 2013 (stay tuned for this!).

The news report below clearly explains the problems surrounding teens and e-cigs:

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Why vaping e-cigs is a risky trend

As many of you may know e-cigarettes are the latest craze to hit Hollywood, with celebrities like Katherine Heigl fashioning the device on international TV when she was on the David Letterman show last month. This might have been the very first time you ever saw an e-cig, and it more than likely appealed to you as a nifty little device, much better than a tobacco cigarette of course – but what needs to be made clear is that this is not a chic, fashionable trend to toy with.

iiraHrMwcopwOne of the main problems lies in the fact that the health and side effects of these gadgets are largely unknown, especially the health risk of inhaling nicotine in vapour form. The other major contributing factor is that these devices contain an unregulated amount of nicotine. And as we know from tobacco (in which nicotine is a naturally formed substance) cigarettes, nicotine is addictive. And so, just like any form of smoking, e-cigs can become an addiction.

Why nicotine is addictive: “Nicotine is an addictive drug. It causes changes in the brain that make people want to use it more and more. In addition, addictive drugs cause unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. The good feelings that result when an addictive drug is present — and the bad feelings when it’s absent — make breaking any addiction very difficult. Nicotine addiction has historically been one of the hardest addictions to break,” The American Heart Association, 2013.

But you’re thinking, wait, nicotine isn’t even bad for you, it’s the tobacco – have a look at this recent study, nictione doesn’t seem absolutely risk free: Characterizing the Genetic Basis for Nicotine Induced Cancer Development: A Transcriptome Sequencing Study

Concern regarding teens: With e-cigarettes being sold in an assortment of sweet flavours, such as vivid vanilla, cherry crush and chocolate – they have that added enticement of, “Oh have you tried this flavor yet?” Furthermore, the simple notion that they come in ‘flavours’ makes them more desirable to the younger market, with new CDC (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention) statistics showing that this type of marketing is enticing children to start what could become a lifelong addiction to tobacco products (Web MD, 2013).

“We are worried about the adolescent use of nicotine, because the adolescent brain is uniquely susceptible to addiction and nicotine is harmful to their brain development,” Dr. Tim McAfee, director of CDC’s on Smoking and Health.

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What are e-cigarettes?

You might know exactly what an e-cigarette (also known as an electronic cigarette or e-cig) is, or you may have absolutely no clue – don’t panic (actually you might after reading about the ‘dangers’ of these devices), we’re here to explain exactly what these electronic devices are all about and why we dub them a ‘no go’.

What is an e-cigarette?
It’s a device that mimics the look and feel of a tobacco cigarette,  with some of these devices looking pretty much like real cigarettes! The difference is that they are electronically run and don’t produce smoke from tabacco but rather a vapour produced from an e-liquid. And so, this is where the argument to e-cigs lies – while e-cigarette companies claim that the vapour produced is only water vapour, granted that nicotine is involved, conflicting views and studies suggest otherwise.

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A battery operated e-cigarette, one of many on the market simulating the ‘look’ of a real cigarette.

How is an e-cig operated?E-cigs are battery operated nicotine inhalers. They consist of a rechargeable lithium battery, a LED that lights up the end of the e-cig when puffed to simulate the burn of a real tobacco cigarette and contains a cartridge called a cartomizer. The cartomizer is then filled with an e-liquid (or e-juice) which produces a vapour inhaled by the user. The e-liquid produces a vapour due to a heating element in the e-cig causing the e-liquid to boil, eventually vaporising.

The misconception behind an e-cigs vapour:
E-liquids typically contain the chemical propylene glycol along with nicotine, and come in an assortment of flavours (yes, that’s right, you want a strawberry or candy aftertaste… these sticks have got it – and this is a major factor contributing to the number of teens picking up these devices).

But don’t let the vapour fog up your vision because that’s NOT all that these e-liquids contain. The problem is that e-cigarettes are currently not regulated by any government body worldwide, meaning e-cigarette companies can pretty much fill e-liquids with whatever they want. One of the arising concerns is the amount of nicotine these devices actually contain, with questions surfacing to what else is hidden in that foggy vapour. Here is what a few major bodies had to say about e-cigs:

“The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has found cancer-causing chemicals in electronic cigarettes, AAP News, 2013.

“E-cigs are not regulated or approved by the FDA and do not have to follow the same rules as other nicotine products. This means that the amount of nicotine and other harmful ingredients in each cartridge is not always the same,” AAP News, 2013.

A 2009 FDA analysis of e-cigarettes from two leading brands found that the samples contained carcinogens and other hazardous chemicals, including diethylene glycol, which is found in antifreeze,” Huffington Post, 2013.

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What is Switch Off E-cigarettes?

The campaign Switch Off E-cigarettes is directed at creating awareness that electronic cigarettes are actually filled with harmful substances and do contain nicotine. Thus, due to their nicotine content they can very easily become addictive, just like tobacco cigarettes. Furthermore, these types of cigarettes are not being regulated by government and so the amount of nicotine they contain is unknown. According to the Huffington Post (2013) “some liquids have been reported to contain formaldehyde and other toxic or carcinogenic substances,” emphasising the danger of these trending sticks.

With e-cigarettes being the latest craze to hit Hollywood, celebrities are fashioning these products as cool, and a ‘healthier’ alternative to tobacco cigarettes but at the end of the day they are still harmful.

Therefore, Switch Off E-cigarettes is working hard to stop non-smokers and teens from picking up this trend, it’s not cool it’s harmful.

Switch Off E-cigarettes, it’s time to stop the trend.

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