Are you one of the millions of Americans toting a new electronic cigarette? Feeling convinced that e-cigs are the answer to finally kicking your addiction? Unfortunately, for many American teenagers, e-cigarettes are the exact opposite of a solution. Recent studies have shown that the use of e-cigs has tripled in teenagers from 2013 to 2014. Teenagers may have cut back on the smoking of tobacco cigarettes, but with the popularity of e-cigs and hookah use, an additional 400,000 teenagers were using a tobacco product in 2014. Included here are a few risks of this uptake in e-cigarette usage.

Lifelong Habit

For many youth, the habits created in high school can last a lifetime; whether it be a healthy habit, like running, or an unhealthy habit, like tobacco use. Many students should be developing coping mechanisms during high school to deal with everyday stresses, but, unfortunately, many are turning to addictive substances like nicotine.

Many young people are using e-cigarettes because they have become a cool fad and can taste good. The obsession with a mouth-based soother can be a bigger symptom of insecurities and create an oral fixation for life. Some people try to soothe their need for an oral stimulant by chewing gum, but it is not satiating. E-cigarettes are creating this unhealthy habit in youth before they even have driving licenses.

Early Addiction to Nicotine

Many of the juices atomized in an e-cigarette come in fruity flavors that are sweet and appealing to teenagers. This makes it altogether too easy to have young teens hooked on addictive nicotine for the long haul. If, or when, a problem with e-cigs comes around, many youth will have to look to traditional cigarettes to get their nicotine fix, creating a lifelong relationship with the tobacco industry. Several specialists are calling the e-cigarette fad a new high-tech way of getting young people hooked on the nicotine habit for life.

Lack of Research

Unfortunately, the research on e-cigs has lagged far behind their rise in popularity. Few studies have been done to understand the longterm effects e-cigarettes have on the body. Some researchers are saying that these high-tech pacifiers are dangerous for those with heart problems and can harm arteries over time. Other experts are concerned that the chemicals released from e-cigarettes can cause significant harm over time, but lack the funding and studies to establish concrete results.

Harm Brain Development

Studies have shown that use of nicotine in teens and young adults has been shown to affect their brain development. While “vaping” does not leave a scent on clothes like tobacco, it is critical that parents understand whether or not their children are using these devices. Some individuals believe long term use of nicotine can cause stomach ulcers, hair loss and high blood pressure.