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Teens need fresh air, not e-cigarettes, for their lungs

Harold Mandel's picture
E-cigarette user

Although the use of e-cigarettes has become very trendy among teens researchers have found they may harm their lungs.


The aggressive marketing of e-cigarettes has lured many teens into using them regularly. There is an appeal to the marketing of e-cigarettes that seems to make them appear to be delicious and healthy. However, it does not seem that e-cigarettes are healthy for the lungs of teens.

The lung health of teens may be harmed by e-cigarettes

The American Thoracic Society reports the lung health of teens may be harmed by e-cigarettes. Already prior to this finding there was concern by health care professionals that e-cigarettes may serve as a gateway to smoking. Now it is understood that even in the absence of becoming tobacco smokers there may be harm to the health of the lungs of teens from using e-cigarettes.

Lead author of this research, Rob McConnell, MD, who is a professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, and his colleagues, have reported there is an association between using e-cigarettes and bronchitis, persistent cough and phlegm or congestion. Dr. McConnell has said it is known that e-cigarettes deliver chemicals which are toxic to the lungs. These chemicals include nicotine, glycerol vapor, oxidant metals and diketone flavoring compounds.

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The risk of respiratory symptoms was double among present users of e-cigarettes

Yet until now there has not been very much research dealing with the chronic health effects of e-cigarettes. The Children’s Health Study found that in comparison to those who never used e-cigarettes there was about an 85 percent increased risk of respiratory symptoms among previous users. The risk was double among present users.

Dr. McConnell has noted the sale of e-cigarettes has recently been banned to children under 18 years old by the Food and Drug Administration. California has gone further and has prohibited the sale of e-cigarettes to young adults who are under 21 years old. It is hoped these regulations coupled with an environment which discourages using any tobacco products may decrease the burden of chronic respiratory symptoms in young people.

Rates of electronic e-cigarette use by adolescents has been increasing

Researchers from the Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California and associates have jointly published their study. It has been observed that rates of electronic e-cigarette use by adolescents has been increasing. Adolescent e-cigarette users have been found to have higher rates of chronic bronchitic symptoms than non users.

Clearly what teens need for the health of their lungs is fresh air, not e-cigarettes. The public health advertising schemes aimed at highlighting the risks of e-cigarettes versus the value of fresh air for the lungs of teens should be very aggressive in order to counter the colorful advertising which is luring young people to use these devices which are delivering toxic chemicals to the lungs of teens.