Four Seasons Pediatrics

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E-Cigarettes – Addicting a New Generation

While adolescent use of tobacco has declined since the 1970s, it remains a persistent public health problem – and e-cigarettes are threatening to addict a new generation to nicotine.  There has been an 890% increase in the past four years.   Surveys of use in 2011 found the following:  1.4% of middle schoolers and 4.7% of high schoolers reported trying an e-cigarette.  Just 2 years later in 2013, surveys showed  3% of middle schoolers and 29% high school students have ever tried e-cigarettes.  18% of high school students reported use in the last month.  In adults, use was reported to be 8.5% in 2013.

What is the scope of the exposure to our youth?

  • 80% of youths 12-17 were exposed to 13 television ads
  • 7,760 flavors many of which are candy and dessert flavored

What is the risk to young children?

  • No child resistant packaging
  • Liquid nicotine is extremely toxic and concentrated in some products
  • As little as ½ tsp can be fatal to a toddler
  • In 2014 there were 3000 calls to poison control with one death in a toddler in our state of New York

What should you know about the aerosol? We recommend that parents who use e-cigarettes, not use it around their children.   It is not harmless and contains a variety of toxic chemicals including the following:

  • Carcinogens
  • Nicotine
  • Metal and silicate particles
  • Propylene glycol

Use of these products is marketed and being used by young adults.   The adolescent brain is uniquely susceptible to nicotine addiction.  In 2014 more young adults reported using e-cigarettes than any other tobacco product.  They are more likely to become addicted even with sporadic use.  The refillable cartridges also allow for addition of other substances including marijuana.

What are the symptoms of nicotine poisoning?

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Agitation, Confusion, Weakness, Dizziness
  • Seizures
  • Drooling
  • Headache
  • Pounding heartbeat followed by slow heart rate
  • Vomiting

Actions you can take as a parent:

The American Academy of Pediatrics is currently advocating for our youth.  Please support the efforts by Pediatricians by letting your legislators know that you support the following:

  • Lawful minimum age should be 21 years
  • Urge FDA to place the same restrictions on electronic nicotine delivery systems as are tobacco products
  • Legislation to support the same level of taxes on electronic nicotine delivery systems and bans on advertising to youth as tobacco products
  • Legislation to support bans on flavored products that are particularly attractive and marketed to youths


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