E-cigarettes have been on the rise in popularity ever since 2003, when Hon Lik invented the modern-day e-cigarette (Consumer, 2019). With the popularity of the new product, long-term effects have yet to be studied. One short-term study reported that “smoking e-cigarettes is 95% less harmful than smoking tobacco” (Teijlingen et al., 2019), while other studies question if it is helping the health of many or increasing the incidence of nicotine dependence.
The danger of e-cigarettes is that they are enticing to youth. With e-cigarettes there are flavors of all variety, so everyone can get juices that taste good to them and that don’t have an offensive smell. While there has been a decrease in cigarette use among youth, e-cigarette use has doubled between 2014 and 2019 among children who had never smoked in their lives (Drummond & Upson, 2019). It is estimated that three million high school kids actively use e-cigarettes of some type, with the numbers reporting as high as 27.5% of high school students and 10.5% of middle school students reporting having used an e-cigarette within the past month (Chand, Muthumalage, Maziak, & Rahman, 2020).
With the increase of youth vaping there have been an increase in e-cigarette or vaping use-associated lung injuries (EVALI). By January 14, 2020, the CDC reported 2,668 hospitalizations of EVALI cases, with the median patient age being 24 years old (CDC, 2020). 134 of those cases came from Utah, including one death (Utah, 2020). That’s almost three times the amount of cases than the average state. Educating the youth and decreasing the availability of flavored juices that are enticing the youth is an important next step. Support the Utah bill, HB 118, in moving e-cigarettes to age-restricted areas of stores so the youth are less enticed by it.
E-cigarettes are potentially useful in smoking cessation, but they are becoming more and more enticing to the youth. Additionally, there is an increase in the number of youths vaping every year, increasing the risk of their nicotine dependence and risk of injury and health.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Update: Characteristics of a Nationwide Outbreak of E-cigarette, or Vaping, Product Use-Associated Lung Injury – United States, August 2019-January 2020. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6903e2.htm?s_cid=mm6903e2_w
Chand, H. S., Muthumalage, T., Maziak, W., & Rahman, I. (2020). Pulmonary toxicity and the pathophysiology of electronic cigarette, or vaping product, use associated lung injury. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 10, 1619.
Consumer Advocates for Smoke Free Alternatives Association (CASAA). (2019). Historical timeline of Electronic Cigarettes. Retrieved from https://www.casaa.org/historical-timeline-of-electronic-cigarettes/
Drummond, M. B. & Upson, D. (2019). Electronic cigarettes. Potential harms and benefits. American Thoracic Society Journals, 11(2), 236-242.
Teijlingen, E. V., Mahato, P., Simkhada, P., Teijlingen, C. V., Asim, M., & Sathian, B. (2019). Vaping and e-cigarettes: A public health warning or a health promotion tool? Nepal Journal of Epidemiology, 9(4), 792-794.
Utah Department of Health. (2020). Lung Injury Outbreak Data. Retrieved from https://health.utah.gov/lun-disease-investigation/lung-injury-outbreak-data