Since the introduction of E-Cigarettes, it has been speculated whether these vapor and nicotine filled mock-cigarettes could be a gateway to a real nicotine addiction for children and teens. There has been abundant research conducted, specifically within the last couple of years, about the contents of E-Cigarettes, and how they are posing a real threat to kids. Since their rise to popularity, E-Cigarettes have begun to be accepted in many restaurants, bars, and other venues since the ban of real cigarettes in most indoor public places nearly four years ago now, making them a more advantageous alternative for smokers. Their popularity also has had to do with the notion that, arguably, they are also a safer alternative for smokers than real cigarettes.
A proverbial “wild west” of varied regulations from state to state on E-Cigarettes has caused a disturbance regarding the strictness of regulations on the purchase of the products, most importantly for young people, some of whom are underage. Most notably, on Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration announced that it would begin regulating the purchase of E-Cigarettes federally. Most states have set an age limit of anywhere from mid-teens to early 20s to purchase regular cigarettes, but because of E-Cigarettes formerly having no federal system of regulation as regular cigarettes do, many children had easy access to the products.
However, even with the Food and Drug Administration placing regulations on the sales of E-Cigarettes this week, children have still not been made completely safe. Sales of the product are intended to be banned from minors, but the Food and Drug Administration is still not cracking down on the sales of the flavored E-Cigarettes, which are a favorite among chilren and teens, and still contain nicotine, which is a highly addictive substance, and a gateway to a lifelong addiction. Experts’ worries about how E-Cigarettes and how they are posing a real threat to kids are that children with easy access to fun flavored E-Cigarettes will have an easy time getting hooked on to something that they may consider fun now, but that may ultimately become an addictive and expensive habit, and also create a whole new generation of smokers.
As if that was not enough to terrify parents, small children are not out of harm’s way when it comes to E-Cigarettes as well. According to a report by Time Magazine at the beginning of this month, since 2010, poison control centers have received a drastic increase in calls to them regarding children who have been exposed to the liquid nicotine from inside the E-Cigarettes. Due to the increasing popularity of the E-Cigarette, these calls have risen from just one call a month on average in the fall of 2010 to 215 calls a month by the beginning of 2014. Over half of the calls were involving children ages five and under, while 42% of them involved people ages 20 and above. Symptoms of exposure to the liquid nicotine contained inside the E-Cigarettes are often nausea, vomiting, and irritation of eyes.
In light of these incidents, more and more studies are being conducted regarding E-Cigarettes and how they are posing a real threat to kids. Despite their increasing popularity, many are beginning to become skeptical about whether they are really the safest option to real cigarettes after all.
By Laura Clark