Electronic cigarettes—which deliver nicotine a highly addictive drug without smoking—have emerged in the past decade as a popular alternative to tobacco cigarettes. They may offer benefits to some smokers already addicted to nicotine. However, e-cigarettes also deliver a set of risks and unknowns—especially for teens. In fact, recent research suggests a link between teen use of e-cigarettes and tobacco cigarettes. We urge you to share these timely resources with your students.
Adolescents and Tobacco: Risk and Protective Factors
Smoking and Youth: MedlinePlus
Scientists know cigarettes kill. In fact, they are the leading cause of preventable death for Americans. Yet more than 40 million Americans still smoke. But what about e-cigarettes? How dangerous are they, and should young people have access to them?
The science says they can. The nicotine in e-cigarettes can change the young brain and get kids hooked. Almost 90 percent of adult daily smokers started smoking by the age of 18, 1 and about 2, youth under 18 smoke their first cigarette every day in the United States.
Smoking cigarettes has many health risks for everyone. However, the younger you are when you start smoking, the more problems it can cause. People who start smoking before the age of 21 have the hardest time quitting. Teens who smoke are also more likely to use alcohol and illegal drugs. The problem is not just cigarettes.