Teens’ vaping rate alarms Augusta University doctor
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - More than 2.5 million high school and middle school students currently use electronic cigarettes – and that’s a number that’s concerning to Dr. Daniel Miller with Augusta University Health.
One issue is the lack of regulation, he said.
“There’s not smoke like tar and so forth like cigarettes,” he said. “But nicotine, you can get a lot higher levels of nicotine, which can lead to worse problems such as coronary artery disease, stroke.”
But his major concern is addiction.
“If you use e-cigarettes during middle school, high school, college years, there’s a four times higher chance that you’ll smoke as an adult compared to nonsmokers,” he said. “So it’s that addictive drug nicotine is, and that’s why the FDA now is working on banning that.”
Why is it such a growing trend for teens?
“Well, because it’s easy access. You can vape anywhere back in the classroom before your test with your friends. You don’t have to light up a cigarette or anything like that,” he said.
“And then flavor. They have over 70 different flavors. And that’s the problem,” he said.
A problem “with some of these off-brands and so forth,” he said, is that the chemical doesn’t break down as well.
“You can get lung disease,” he said. “There’s been over 30 cases of acute lung disease, and actually five young adults have required lung transplants for vaping.”
He said the big selling point in the beginning was that electronic cigarettes could help people quit smoking.
“There’s been no proven data that has done that, and actually it’s made more people use nicotine and so forth down the road,” he said.
And problems with nicotine include that it causes blood vessels to decrease in size.
“It’s just like having a heart attack and stroke,” he said. “But the big thing about e cigarettes and cigarette smoking, after you stop, those organs will recover overtime, so you’re not going to have permanent damage.”
So that’s why it’s good to quit, he said.
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