CLARKS SUMMIT, Pa. – E-cigarettes were intended to be a method for smokers to quit. But in recent years, kids have started using the devices without knowing the dangers that electronic cigarettes can pose to their health. Sometimes they start using them without their parents knowing.
“Kids aren’t smoking cigarettes anymore. They are going right to e-pens, Juuls, and trying to get their tobacco from that,” said Kristin Rude, a physical education teacher at Abington Heights School District.
Some e-cigarettes are so small, you probably wouldn’t even recognize them.
“It would be over-passed if you walked past their room and you saw one laying on their desk in their room,” added Andrew Snyder, principal at Abington Heights High School.
So what exactly are these vapes, and why are they so dangerous for young people?
Dr. Jaya Sugunaraj of Geisinger specializes in pulmonary medicine and says it’s what we don’t know about these devices that has the medical community concerned.
“It’s basically a battery-operated device which heats up the liquid to aerosolized form or mist form, which the user inhales,” Dr. Sugunaraj explained. “We don’t want to wait until 30 years to find out that these are injurious to health. I’m a lung doctor. I see patients with COPD and lung cancer. Most of the patients come and tell me, ‘I wish someone told me 30 years back that this is not good for me.'”
A report from the surgeon general in 2018 says that 3.6 million young people use e-cigarettes. That’s one in five high school students, and one in 20 middle schoolers who are using vapes.
“The dangers of smoking cigarettes and tobacco use is clear. It’s out there, and our kids are afraid. Vapes don’t hurt their lungs. Vapes don’t hurt their chest. They’re not coughing. It’s easy to use,” explained Snyder.
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