04/16/15 8:01am
04/16/2015 8:01 AM

Here’s what everyone needs to know about nicotine in any form, according to county health department commissioner Dr. James Tomarken: “Nicotine is a highly addictive drug and recent research suggests nicotine exposure may also prime the brain to become addicted to other substances. We all know the younger one starts the easier it is to get addicted, the longer they’ll be addicted and the harder it is to stop the addiction.”

Dr. Tomarken and other health experts are also concerned that electronic cigarettes, which contain liquid nicotine, are being targeted bu manufacturers to “very young” children. (more…)

04/16/15 8:01am

What are they?

E-cigarettes come in many shapes and sizes, but most have a battery, a heating element and a reservoir to hold a liquid. The liquid typically contains nicotine, which is the addictive drug in regular cigarettes, as well as chemicals like propylene glycol or glycerin and flavorings such as fruit and chocolate. E-cigarettes are a type of electronic nicotine delivery system, or ENDS. Other ENDS products include e-hookahs, e-cigars, e-pipes and vape pens, among others.

Are they harmful?

E-cigarettes are fairly new and not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration; therefore, there’s no way to know for sure what is in them or how much nicotine they contain. There are unanswered questions about their ingredients and how those ingredients may affect the health of people who use e-cigarettes and bystanders around them, both in the short-term and over time.

Are they helpful?

The Food and Drug Administration has not approved e-cigarettes as a device to help people quit smoking. However, seven medicines have been approved by the FDA to help people quit smoking that have been tested for purity and safety, including forms of nicotine such as inhalers, nasal sprays, patches, gums and lozenges.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

04/16/15 8:00am
(Credit: Getty images stock)

Medical professionals are concerned e-cigarettes have been glamorized and targeted toward young people. (Credit: Getty images stock)

High school students sometimes notice classmates slyly puffing away — in class — behind a book, blowing smoke into their sleeves.

During a fire drill on a brisk day, some brazen students might even sneak a smoke out in the open, believing teachers and principals will mistake the small clouds as exhaled cold air.

Sure, teenagers are still huddling in obvious areas like bathrooms or just off school grounds to light up, but most of them aren’t using a lighter to smoke a butt. They’re “vaping” with electronic cigarettes. And schools are finding that the devices are becoming more popular among students than traditional cigarettes.