Thinking About Health: New form of e-cigarettes lures teens despite no proof it's safe – Nevada Appeal

The electronic cigarette, or e-cigarette, has been touted — without proof — as a healthier alternative to traditional tobacco products and perhaps even a method of breaking the tobacco habit altogether. Now a new, related product with the brand name JUUL has entered the market and is especially appealing to teens.

An e-cigarette, which looks much like a traditional cigarette, heats a liquid to create an aerosol, called “vapor,” that can be inhaled.

It is true that many of the toxic chemicals found in tobacco smoke are not present in the “vapor.” However, most e-cigarettes still contain nicotine in addition to some chemicals not necessarily found in tobacco.

A Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health study published in Environmental Health Perspectives says some chemicals in e-cigarettes are linked to a severe respiratory disorder and that nicotine is still addictive even if it’s delivered in a vapor.

Most e-cigarettes don’t look like anything but an e-cigarette. A JUUL device, on the other hand, looks like an ordinary flash drive, or USB drive, the exact sort of devices students now carry around with schoolwork stored on them. In fact, a JUUL is rechargeable and comes with a USB charger that you can plug into your laptop or charging station.

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Furthermore, the Food and Drug Administration has not approved electronic cigarettes as a safe or effective method to quit smoking.

The bottom line is, no study has yet identified the long-term effects of “vaping,” and the belief that it is somehow safer than regular cigarettes may lead users to indulge more than they might otherwise.

That includes young people. Keeping cigarettes out of the hands of those below the legal age has always been a problem, and e-cigarettes are no different. However, with the

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