Research has not yet determined the long-term health effects of nicotine vape, e-cigarette, and other similar electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS). Though some studies have shown promise applying these devices for combustible smoke cessation with a harm reduction approach, there is a clear picture that e-cigarettes present a danger to teens.
There is a growing concern regarding teen use of ENDS. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, from 2017 to 2018 the number of high school seniors who had used a nicotine vape in the past 30 days almost doubled from 11 percent to 20.9 percent. The Center for Disease Control reported that e-cigarettes were the most commonly used tobacco product among high school students 11.7 percent in 2018. The same report in 2011 showed that ENDS use among high school students was as low as 1.5 percent. This influx of substance use presents the potential for a new generation of people who are addicted to nicotine.
Nicotine is not a benign substance, especially for young developing brains. According to the National Institute of Health, developing brains are more sensitive to the addictive properties of nicotine. This makes young people more susceptible to addiction and may cause cessation of nicotine use to be more difficult. While some studies e-cigarettes are less harmful than combustible cigarettes they are not harmless. There are several studies showing that each ENDS can contain hundreds of chemicals, many of them can be harmful. The Journal of Tobacco Control published a comprehensive issue on the effects of vapor producing tobacco products that focused on a product that is still pending approval for domestic sale by the FDA. The data presented in this issue showed use of the product lead to damaged blood vessels and damage to the heart. There must be more studies done on the use of these products to determine the extent of harm that could be caused.
The FDA has declared the use of nicotine vape by youth an “epidemic” and in response, has expanded its oversight on the production and sale of these products. In a press release dated September 12, 2018, the FDA outlined a plan to restrict the access of ENDS to youth, curb the marketing of tobacco products to youth, and educate youths on the danger of tobacco products.
Rise Above It Lexington Two Community Coalition has amended our annual student survey to help us gather data concerning the use of e-cigarettes in our school community. We hope to combat the use of e-cigarettes, nicotine vape, and like devices in our schools and community. We encourage you as a community member to join us in our fight. If you have questions, concerns, or ideas please contact us.