Teen vaping has soared due largely to products like JUUL whose cartridges contain as much nicotine as a pack of combustible cigarettes. The 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey reports 1 in 5 high school students recently used e-cigarettes.
Nicotine in any product is highly addictive. Teens are especially vulnerable to becoming addicted to nicotine and other substances following nicotine exposure, even just once. Research indicates that youth who vape have a higher risk of smoking combustible cigarettes. With chronic nicotine exposure, teens become more impulsive, less attentive and more likely to develop cognitive problems. Nicotine in any product negatively affects brain development, which is incomplete until around age 25.
It’s important to support research on the health impact of vaping, and laws prohibiting use of e-cigarettes and similar devices by minors. For help, talk to your doctor, call the New York State Smokers Quitline at (866) 697-8487 or visit nysmokefree.com.
Janaki Nathan
University of Rochester Medical Center