One in 10 high school students said they had tried an e cigarette last year, according to a national survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up from one in 20 in 2011. About 3 percent said they had used one in the last 30 days. In total, 1.8 million middle and high school students said they had tried e cigarettes in 2012.
This is really taking off among kids, said Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the C.D.C.
E cigarettes are battery powered devices that deliver nicotine that is vaporized to form an aerosol mist. Producers promote them as a healthy alternative to smoking, but researchers say their health effects are not yet clear, though most acknowledge that they are less harmful than traditional cigarettes. The Food and Drug Administration does not yet regulate them, though analysts expect that the agency will start soon.
Thomas Briant, executive director of the National Association of Tobacco Outlets, which represents 28,000 stores, said the study raises too many unanswered questions, for the data to be used for policy making. It was unclear, for example, whether students who tried e cigarettes were using them regularly or only once. He pointed out that selling them to minors is now illegal in many states.
One of the biggest concerns among health officials is the potential for e cigarettes to become a path to smoking among young people who otherwise would not have experimented. The survey found that most students who had tried e cigarettes had also smoked traditional cigarettes.
But one in five middle school students who said they had tried e cigarettes reported never having smoked a conventional cigarette, raising fears that e cigarettes, at least for some, could become a gateway. Among high school students, 7 percent who had tried an e cigarette said they had never smoked a traditional cigarette.
Dr. Frieden said that the adolescent brain is more susceptible to nicotine, and that the trend of rising use could hook young people who might then move into more harmful products like conventional cigarettes.
Murray S. Kessler, the chairman, president and chief executive of Lorillard, a North Carolina based tobacco company that owns Blu eCigs, said that the rise in youth usage was unacceptable, and added that the company was looking forward to a regulatory framework that restricts youth access but does not stifle what may be the most significant harm reduction opportunity that has ever been made available to smokers.
The sharp rise among students mirrored that among adult users and researchers said that it appeared to be driven, at least in part, by aggressive national marketing campaigns, some of which feature famous actors. (Producers say the ads are not aimed at adolescents.) E cigarettes also come in flavors, which were banned in traditional cigarettes in 2009 and which health officials say appeal to young people.
Kids love gadgets and the marketing for these things is in your face, said Gary A. Giovino, a professor of health behavior at the University at Buffalo. He added that the rising use of e cigarettes risked reversing societal trends in which smoking had fallen out of fashion.
About 6 percent of all adults not just smokers reported having tried e cigarettes in 2011, according to a C.D.C. survey, about double the number from 2010. Data for adults in 2012 are not yet available, a spokesman said.
Nicotine in e-cigs, tobacco linked to heart disease – cnn.com
The substance itself has a powerful impact on the body. It elevates your mood, suppresses your appetite and stimulates your memory however, it also speeds up your heart rate and blood pressure.
E cigarettes satisfy a smoker’s craving for nicotine and mimic the physical movements of smoking, but were viewed as a healthier alternative by some since they don’t contain the cancer causing toxins of regular cigarettes.
Previous studies, such as one published in the journal The Lancet in September, have suggested e cigarettes may be a more effective way for smokers to quit than nicotine patches or the “cold turkey” method.
In 2007, the Royal College of Physicians concluded, “If nicotine could be provided in a form that is acceptable and effective as a cigarette substitute, millions of lives could be saved.”
Smoke from e cigs still poses some second hand risk
Smoking is the leading preventable cause of premature death, according to the American Heart Association.
For years, doctors have also known that smokers often develop heart problems in addition to lung problems.
Smoking increases a person’s risk of developing atherosclerosis, a disease in which plaque, a waxy substance, builds up in the arteries, narrowing and hardening them over time and limiting blood flow.
Atherosclerosis can cause heart attacks, strokes, and can even lead to death. The connection between smoking and atherosclerosis has been unclear, but scientist Chi Ming Hai may have discovered the root cause of the problem in the new study.
The molecular pharmacology professor at Brown University exposed cells found in the heart to nicotine. After only six hours, a kind of cellular drill, called podosome rosettes formed and ate through tissue.
When this happens in the vascular smooth muscle cells which are in the middle layer of the arterial wall to the inner layer, this can cause plaque to form in atherosclerosis. This happened when Hai exposed human and rat cells to nicotine.
What that means is that the nicotine is acting like “a kind of cancer of the blood vessel which is waking up these cells and breaking them away from their surrounding matric and then migrating having an effect like it is almost like digging a hole through the wall,” Hai said. “I think this is potentially very interesting and significant.”
It also means that the nicotine substitute of an e cigarette may reduce a person’s chance of having lung cancer, but it does not mean that their risk of heart disease will go away.
Research is still in the very early stages, Hai said, but he believes it would be a good area for the government to invest in to better understand the connection between smoking and heart disease.
“We have certain pillars in this data that shows something significant is going on here and we need to understand it better,” Hai said.
E cigarettes Healthy tool or gateway device?