Electronic cigarettes are increasingly popular with some young people and that is raising concerns among educators and health care professionals.

Electronic cigarettes are increasingly popular with some young people and that is raising concerns among educators and health care professionals.

E-cigarettes raise concerns

Local drug and alcohol counsellor urging parents not to let their kids use e-cigarettes

  • Jan. 31, 2014 7:00 a.m.

Doug Rogers

Special to The Morning Star

As a local drug and alcohol counselor I work with young people in the North Okanagan everyday – I will limit my comments to this group.

In recent months, I have seen a significant increase in the use and abuse of electronic cigarettes (E-cigs). In fact, some young adults were given these devices by their parents for Christmas.

I see E-cigs as a training instrument.

Many kids start using E-cigs to be cool in their social group and quickly move on to regular tobacco cigarettes.

Clearly, they are not smoking cessation devices for new smokers. A second issue is the normalization of the abnormal.

That is, when was the last time you saw groups of people standing around smoking? I have seen folks outside offices and schools smoking away – something I have not seen since the early ‘90s.

E-cigarettes are not safe for kids. Some E-cigarette companies claim that their devices are safer than tobacco cigarettes.

These claims are poorly researched and unproven.

It is true that E-cigs do not contain many of the harmful chemical compounds of traditional tobacco. However, the nicotine in E-cigarettes is dangerous and highly addictive.

Further, the amount and quality of nicotine may vary from device to device.

Some experts have argued that E-cigs are marketed toward young adults.

Why else would some of the devices come in bright colors (blue, pink, gold) and flavours like bubble gum and chocolate. In this case, these are not smoking cessation devices.

The converse is true, they are helping to create more smokers!

Parents, it is a bad idea to let your children use E-cigarettes. They are untested and may affect the health of your kid.

Doug Rogers is a substance abuse prevention counsellor with the Vernon School District.