What Are E-Cigarettes (E-Cigs)?
E-cigarette cancer chemicals have increased in teens. Before we get into the details, let's review the background of E-cigarettes. E-cigs are electronic cigarettes that have liquids that contain many chemicals including nicotine, and fruity and other flavors. They are battery-powered and mimic cigarettes, but don't have the smell of smoke. The liquid changes into a vapor due to the heat in an e-cig. Hence, it’s also called “vaping.”
What is Juuling?
There is a new teen trend called “Juuling.” Juuling is an e-cig that is thin, looks like a flash drive, and charge in a USB port. A juul produces less smoke which disappears more quickly. Hence, teens are able to juul at school and home without parents’ knowledge. In comparison to smoking cigarettes, one juul pod (cartridge) has as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes.
What are the Signs if Your Teen is Juuling?
The signs of e-cigarette smoking & juuling are:
- Increased thirst
- Sore throat
- Caffeine sensitivity - they decrease their caffeine intake.
- Higher rates of pneumonia
E-Cigarette Cancer Causing Chemicals
They’ve been advertised as a safe alternative to cigarettes. They’ve also been advertised as an aid to stopping smoking. Since e-cigs don't burn tobacco, they don't burn the same amounts of tar ans carbon monoxide. However, e-cigarettes are unsafe, contain high levels of nicotine, and do not help in smoking cessation. E-cigs and juuls have many cancer-causing chemicals (acrylonitrile, acrolein, acrylamide, benzene and ethylene and propylene oxide, and crotonaldehyde).
Study Showed E-Cigarette Cancer Chemicals Increased in Teens
In a recent study of 100 teens from the San Francisco Bay area by the University of California-San Francisco study: 67 teens used e-cigs only, 16 used both e-cigs and conventional cigs and 20 didn't smoke or vape at all. Urine and salivary gland fluids tested positive for cancer-causing chemicals in teen smokers. It revealed that teens who used e-cigs and cigarettes had three (3) times higher amounts of these e-cigarette cancer causing chemicals in their body fluids as compared to the teens that used only e-cigs. It revealed that the teens that used e-cigs only had three (3) times higher amounts of these e-cigarette cancer causing chemicals in their body fluids as compared to the teens that didn't smoke at all. Lastly, the study also showed that teens who used fruit-flavored e-cigarettes had significantly elevated levels of acrylonitrile as compared with those who used other flavors, such as menthol.
Is Advertising Increasing E-Cig Usage by Teens?
The CDC has reported that teens view ads for e-cigarettes more than before; the exposure increased from about 69% in 2014 to about 78% in 2016. Retail stores have exposed teens to e-cigs the most in comparison to other ads like those found on TV, internet, or magazines. Since studies show that ads for tobacco products show increased use by teens, it is very likely that ads for e-cigs are also increasing use among teens.
FDA Sued for Delay in E-Cig Regulations
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and its Maryland chapter, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, four other public health groups and five pediatricians filed a lawsuit against the FDA for delaying submission product-review applications for cigars and e-cigarettes until August 2021 and August 2022, respectively. This leaves children at increased risk of cancer and other negative side effects from e-cigs.
Learn & Talk About the Risks of E-Cigarettes with Your Kids
It is important to learn all about the signs, symptoms, and risks associated with e-cigarettes. The U.S. Surgeon General has created a website with lots of information about e-cigs and how to talk to your kids about this. Remind them to respect their bodies and care for themselves. Positivity goes a long way. Talk to them today about e-cigarette cancer in teens.