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Surgeon General Warns of E-Cigarette Dangers among Youth

You might remember that the FDA recently extended its authority to include e-cigarettes as a regulated tobacco product. Under the new regulation, the FDA is able to control the sales, marketing, and manufacturing of electronic nicotine-delivery systems (ENDS). These products, including e-pens, e-pipes, e-hookahs, and e-cigars, will be regulated just like other traditional tobacco products.

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While this regulation is supported by health experts, like the American Lung Association, it is strictly opposed by the makers and manufacturers of ENDS. It is important to understand why such regulation is needed to protect America's youth and young adults.

Many dangers surrounding these devices exist. Not only is nicotine a highly addictive substance, without proper regulation it is hard to tell what other chemicals children and young adults are inhaling when using ENDS. Along with nicotine, the liquid used in e-cigarette cartridges are made with flavorings, colorings, and other chemicals. Different flavors are just one way that young people have been drawn in to use the products. Not only are children interested in smoking them, toddlers have poisoned themselves after consuming the liquid, assuming it is candy.

There have also been reports of devices exploding in the faces, hands, and pockets of users.

Regulation is not intended to be an attack on the tobacco industry, but a protection of America's youth from the many potential dangers associated with e-cigarettes.

Manufacturers of ENDS are upset that the Surgeon General has not focused on how e-cigarettes help nicotine addicts quit smoking, but there is minimal research that has been done to prove this theory. What is known is that while tobacco use has declined among youth and teenagers, e-cigarette use has skyrocketed. Without regulation, little can be done to determine if they are at risk of eventually picking up a tobacco habit.

Read E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General.

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