Expert: Frank Leone, MD, chair of the Tobacco Action Committee of the American Thoracic Society and noted expert in tobacco use treatment and smoking cessation.
The CDC’s latest report on tobacco use among teens between 2011 and 2015 showed decreased use of traditional tobacco products and significant increase in the use of e-cigarettes.
Frank Leone, MD, chair of the ATS Tobacco Action Committee, believes the misconception that e-cigarettes are safer than traditional cigarettes is driving the trend to increased use, which puts children and other first-time users at risk for significant health problems.
• There are risks associated with liquid nicotine, including addiction.
• Studies have shown that the mechanical and chemical characteristics of e-cigarettes contribute to potentially hazardous health effects.
• Chemicals in the liquid nicotine flavorings are particularly dangerous for children, and one study showed that flavorings altered lung function at the cellular level.
The CDC report states that “if current smoking rates continue, 5.6 million Americans aged <18 years who are alive today are projected to die prematurely from smoking-related disease.”
“That’s not only a cause for great concern,” said Dr. Leone. “It’s a call to action. President Obama and the FDA need to lead the charge now by regulating e-cigarettes and all tobacco products.