E-cigarettes and other vaping products, have become a highly used product among teens and young adults in recent years. More than 5.3 million middle and high school students across the country used e-cigarettes in 2019. This is an increase of over 3 million users in just 2 years.
An expert on this issue, at the Bassett Medical Center, is a Pediatrician who has been a doctor for over 30 years. Dr. Kjolhede spoke about the problems with young adults smoking e-cigarettes. Dr. Kjolhede said ”E-cigarettes need to be viewed much as we viewed cigarettes themselves in terms of their impact on youth and respiratory illness.”
Dr. Kjolhede stressed that there is not enough research to show what long term effects that e-cigarettes may have on the body. However, Dr. Kjolhede said that recently he has spoken to many young adults in schools who have used e-cigarettes and are starting to have respiratory problems. Dr. Kjolhede mentioned ”One of my former patients was hospitalized, and it seems like e-cigarette use was an important factor in that for his pneumonia.”
This is not the first illness that e-cigarettes could have contributed to. There have been over 50 deaths and several hundred hospitalizations, often times including the intensive care unit, related to e-cigarettes. Dr. Kjolhede spoke about his patients, ”I bring that up to youth and I tell them that this is a danger and death is a real outcome.”
About 97% of current youth e-cigarette users have used a flavored e-cigarette in the past month. One in nine high schoolers use e-cigarettes daily. This product is known as a gateway to tobacco use. Dr. Kjolhede stated ”We know that half of adult cigarettes users will die of a disease related to their cigarette use, and we know that e-cigarettes is an entrée to later on smoking tobacco products.” Over 80% of kids who have used tobacco started with flavored products, such as e-cigarettes.
Last week, the Trump Administration put a policy into effect, that includes loopholes for the e-cigarette industry. These loopholes allow thousands of flavored e-cigarette products to remain available at more than 10,000 locations. This includes products with kid-friendly fruit flavors at convenience stores, gas stations and vape shops.