It is a myth that electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are safer than conventional tobacco cigarettes and can help reduce the harm caused by smoking it. Introduced as smoking cessation devices, e-cigarettes can, in fact, cause serious health issues. They can trigger addiction to nicotine among adolescents who consider them cool and find it fun to experiment with.
Their use is more like an addictive device among the youth and the real purpose has been lost in this process. A new study by the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) has shown the extent to which middle and high school students feel enticed to use e-cigarettes due to their exposure to marketing messages propagated by e-cigarette companies.
For the study, titled “E-Cigarette Marketing Exposure Is Associated With E-Cigarette Use Among U.S. Youth,” the scientists used data obtained from the 2014 National Youth Tobacco Survey. The data showed how adolescents gained knowledge about e-cigarettes and its use through various advertisements flashed across retail counters, print media, electronic channels and the internet.
In the study published online in the Journal of Adolescent Health in April 2016, nearly 20 percent of the 22,007 adolescents were found to use e-cigarettes prior to the study, while 9 percent reported to use them during the course of the study.
It was observed that the teenagers who had tried using vaporizers prior to the study were at a greater risk of being exposed to marketing messages via various electronic, print and other channels, when contrasted with those who did not indulge in vaping. Also, those smoking e-cigarettes during the course of the study were 22 percent more likely to have come across one marketing message as compared to non-users.
With an increased exposure to various marketing channels of e-cigarettes, the probability of students using these devices has gone up, the study said. Moreover, almost half of the participants were found to see such ads in retail settings, followed by 40 percent of the students having seen them across the internet.
Lead author Dale Mantey, a predoctoral fellow at the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living at UTHealth School of Public Health in Austin, said, “You go to a convenience store and the entire wall behind the cashier is tobacco advertising. We’re seeing e-cigarettes are following that trend. The internet and social media are also a concern because e-cigarette companies have a big presence online.”
E-cigarettes are harmful for the human body in more than one way. They contain some amount of alcohol, along with substances other than nicotine, that may hamper motor skills of the smokers. A related study, published online in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence in 2015, found that the presence of alcohol in e-cigarettes might increase the risk of addiction to both nicotine and alcohol.
Also, the lack of statutory warnings about the possible health impact of e-cigarettes raises concern about its usage among teens. Easy accessibility of flavored e-cigarettes and their popularity among the younger generation add to the list of substances that Americans are already addicted to.
The fact that addiction is treatable needs to be understood. Complete sobriety may be difficult to achieve, but not impossible. And it all starts with the first step called detoxification which involves flushing out the toxins from the human body that may have got accumulated due to incessant and prolonged addiction. By using various medications, along with evidence-based therapies, the process of detoxification is always carried out under proper medical supervision.
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