Dr. Elizabeth Linder: What do you know about e-cigarettes? – Brattleboro Reformer

The use of e-cigarettes is a rising trend these days, for adults, but also particularly for teens. In just over a decade, this fad has grown into a huge industry, with hundreds of thousands of users.

Use among teens has seen the fastest growth. The National Youth Tobacco Survey for 2011-15 shows that the rate among teens was 2 percent in 2011 and had risen to 16 percent just four years later. In 2015, more teens reported use of e-cigarettes than conventional cigarettes (15 percent vs. 11 percent). Nearly one in four Vermont middle- and high-school students have tried an e-cigarette.

If you are a parent, or any adult who takes care of, and cares for children, what do you need to know about e-cigarettes? Are they really a safe alternative to regular cigarettes? How do you talk to your kids about e-cigarettes?

First, you have to know the vocabulary.

E-cigarette is a shortened form of the word electronic-cigarette. Sometimes called an “e-cig,” these devices have a battery inside that heats liquid into an aerosol (vapor). The user inhales the vapor in an activity that simulates smoking.

E-hookahs, vapes, vape pens, vaping devices, personal vaporizers, mod tanks, or mods: all of these are other slang words used to refer to e-cigarettes. Slang always evolves, so other terms may be used as well, especially by a teen speaking in code to another teen.

Vaping is the term used for use of this device, because of the vapor that is inhaled.

E-liquid, e-juice, and vape juice are terms for the liquid used in the e-cigarette. Despite what you may hear from your teen, this liquid often does contain nicotine, as well as propylene glycol, glycerine, and flavorings. Propylene glycol is an ingredient in antifreeze, but it is also used as a food additive, in cosmetics, and in some medications.


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