Special to The Morning Star
This is the third time that I have written an article for The Morning Star regarding e cigarettes (E Cigs) and I will continue to do so because of the sharp increase in the use of these devices among our youth. Clearly, E Cig companies (many owned by ‘big tobacco’) have done an excellent job in promoting their product as safe.
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 – new research has shown this to be the case. 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. Stopping use will cause withdrawal symptoms, irritability and an increase in anxiety for some. Further, the amount and quality of nicotine may vary from device to device.
Parents, it is a bad idea to let your children use E Cigarettes. They will impair the health of your child and, in some cases, cause your child to switch to tobacco-based products.
Doug Rogers is the Substance Abuse Prevention Counsellor for the Vernon School District.