Nearly A Quarter of U.S. Teens Exposed to Second-Hand E-Cigarette Vapors: Study
About one out of every four teens in the U.S. are exposed to potentially harmful second-hand e-cigarette vapors, according to the findings of new research.
In a study published this month in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics, new CDC data suggests that the number of teens using e-cigarettes has increased significantly over the last decade, since the products were introduced to the market in 2007. In addition, an alarming number of teens are exposed second-hand to the vapors produced by the devices.
Teens who were exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke were also more likely to be exposed to secondhand e-cigarette vapor, according to the findings.
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E-cigarettes are now the most commonly used tobacco product among the nation’s youth, after manufacturers targeted teens and young adults by marketing appealing “candy-like” flavors.
Researchers warn that aerosol is produced when e-cigarettes are heated. Some vapor is also exhaled into the air where nonusers can inhale the vapor, ingest it or cause dermal contact. The vapor may contain harmful substance like nicotine, heavy metals and benzene vapors, which are known carcinogens.
Data from the 2015 National Youth Tobacco Survey indicated nearly 25% of middle and high school students were exposed to e-cigarette vapors in an indoor or outdoor location at least once in the previous 30 days. That equates to roughly 6.5 million students.
The Surgeon General warned late last year e-cigarettes pose a serious health concern to the nation’s youth.
Researchers indicate that students exposed to secondhand smoke from traditional cigarettes were 40% more likely to be exposed to secondhand e-cigarette vapors, compared to about 8% for teens who were not exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke.
Among teens who reported secondhand e-cigarette vapor exposure, 67% were current e-cigarette users. About 29% were former e-cigarette users and 16% were teens who never used e-cigarettes.
The findings of the study also indicated about 51% of current teen tobacco users reported exposure to e-cigarette vapors. Over 32% of those exposed to e-cigarette vapors were former tobacco smokers and about 17% were students who never used tobacco in any form.
Exposure rates of e-cigarette vapors were 22% for males, 27% for females, 25% for Hispanics, 27% for whites, 15% among blacks, and 22% among other races.
Researchers warn changing tobacco-free policies to include e-cigarettes is crucial to help protecting the nation’s youth from a largely preventable health risk. A recent study highlighted the risk e-cigarette vapor poses to teen lungs. Another study published last year linked vaping to increased risk of oral cancer.
A Japanese study published in 2014 indicated e-cigarettes produce 10 times the amount of cancer-causing agents compared to tobacco cigarettes. Changing tobacco-free policies to include e-cigarettes can help protect teens from involuntary exposure and serious harmful side effects.
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