Young Adult E-Cigarette Use Up
An article posted on CNN highlights the disturbing trend of increasing e-cigarette use among teenagers and young adults. Why is this concerning for parents and our Sacramento dentists? Mainly it’s because vaping or e-cigarette use is largely unregulated and most teens do not know that the use of e-cigarettes is potentially addictive and has many possible side effects. Believing that smoking e-cigarettes is a “healthier” alternative to smoking tobacco, this false sense of security sees many teens start using, largely because the thousands of flavors available for vaping also intrigue them.
The effectiveness of e-cigarette marketing and advertising campaigns is demonstrated in the changing numbers of youthful users. E-Cigarette use among high school students has tripled since 2011, and has doubled among young adults between 18-24 years of age since 2014. Nevertheless, the National Institutes for Health (NIH) warns, “Although they do not produce tobacco smoke, e-cigarettes still contain nicotine and other potentially harmful chemicals. Nicotine is a highly addictive drug, and recent research suggests nicotine exposure may also prime the brain to become addicted to other substances.” This is why the Surgeon General recommended that all government agencies, even down to the local level, take immediate action to reduce e-cigarette use amongst young people.
Selling the E-Cigs
E-cigarette companies appear to be using many of the advertising tactics the tobacco industry used to persuade a new generation of young people to use their products. Companies are promoting their products through television and radio advertisements that use celebrities, sexual content and claims of independence to glamorize these addictive products and make them appealing to young people.” – Dr. Tom Frieden, Director, Centers for Disease Control
Are e-cigarettes really “healthier” than smoking tobacco? It seems an easy argument, since traditional cigarettes are proven harmful to the health. But as the NIH says, “…testing of some e-cigarette products found the vapor to contain known carcinogens and toxic chemicals (such as formaldehyde and acetaldehyde), as well as potentially toxic metal nanoparticles from the vaporizing mechanism. The health consequences of repeated exposure to these chemicals are not yet clear.” It bears mentioning that the vapor is not just water either, as many would have you believe, but actually propylene glycol or glycerin. Additionally, studies show that e-cigarette users still tend to smoke or take up smoking conventional cigarettes at a younger age after the use of e-cigarettes.
The Sacramento Dentistry Group has presented many articles about the danger tobacco use poses for oral health. While research is still being conducted to see how e-cigarettes affect a person’s health, we have already seen that the inhalation of harmful chemicals from vaping can irritate mouth tissues, cause tissue sensitivity and gum recession or allergic reactions. So, our Sacramento dental office encourages our patients to seriously think about the risks both smoking and vaping pose. If you are a parent, share this article with your teenagers and discuss with them the risks of using e-cigarettes. And feel free to talk with our dentists for smoking cessation tips. Ultimately, we support all of our patients and work for them to have the best health possible!