E-cigs not harmless for youth

Published 9:54 am Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Do you know what’s in your child’s backpack?

According to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, an increasing number of children under the age of 18 are experimenting with e-cigarettes, which are likely to be found among their school supplies, as some e-cigarettes can easily be mistaken for pens, highlighters and other school items.

In the past several years, the use of electronic tobacco has increased dramatically among adults and children alike. According to the National Youth Tobacco Survey, e-cigarette use among high school students increased nearly 800 percent from 2011 to 2014. Similar increases were observed among middle school students.

It is important to know that just because e-cigarettes do not produce smoke and tar like traditional cigarettes and come in appealing flavors, they can still be harmful to young people.

In fact, calls to poison control centers about e-cigarette and liquid nicotine exposure increased more than 1,200 percent, from 271 calls in 2011 to 3,738 calls in 2014, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers. More than half of the reported exposures involved children under the age of 6.

Studies also show that teenage brains are permanently affected by nicotine exposure, with possible long-term cognitive and mood results. Not to mention nicotine addiction.

Parents must be on the lookout for e-cigarettes and educate their children on the dangers of tobacco, smokeless or otherwise. E-cigs are not a harmless alternative to smoking despite how attractive marketing campaigns may seem.