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.
One 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.