Teen vaping rate alarms Augusta University doctor
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – More than 2.5 million high school and college students currently use e-cigarettes – and that’s a number that worries Dr. Daniel Miller of Augusta University Health.
One of the problems is the lack of regulation, he said.
“There is no smoke like tar and so on like cigarettes,” he said. “But nicotine, you can get much higher levels of nicotine, which can lead to more serious issues like coronary heart disease, stroke.”
But his main concern is addiction.
“If you used e-cigarettes in middle school, high school and university, you’re four times more likely to smoke as an adult compared to non-smokers,” he said. “So it’s this drug that is addictive to nicotine, and that’s why the FDA is now working to ban it.”
Why is this a rising trend among teens?
“Well, because it’s easy to get to. You can vape anywhere in the classroom before your test with your friends. You don’t have to light a cigarette or anything like that,” he said.
“And then the flavor. They have over 70 different flavors. And that’s the problem,” he said.
One problem “with some of these off-brand brands and so on,” he said, is that the chemical doesn’t break down as well.
“You can get lung disease,” he said. “There have been over 30 cases of acute lung disease, and in fact five young adults have required lung transplants to vape.”
He said the main selling point at the start was that e-cigarettes could help people quit smoking.
“There hasn’t been any proven data that has done that, and in fact it’s driven more people to use nicotine and so on,” he said.
And the problems with nicotine include the fact that it causes blood vessels to shrink in size.
“It’s like having a heart attack and a stroke,” he said. “But the great thing about e-cigarettes and smoking, after you quit, those organs will recover overtime, so you’re not going to have any permanent damage.”
That’s why it’s good to quit, he says.
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