Sur­geon Gen­eral sound­ing alarm on teens’ use of e-cig­a­rettes

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE -

WASH­ING­TON: The US sur­geon gen­eral is call­ing e-cig­a­rettes an emerg­ing pub­lic health threat to the na­tion’s youth.

In a re­port re­leased Thurs­day, Sur­geon Gen­eral Vivek Murthy ac­knowl­edged a need for more re­search into the health ef­fects of “va­p­ing,” but said e-cig­a­rettes aren’t harm­less and too many teens are us­ing them. “My con­cern is e-cig­a­rettes have the po­ten­tial to cre­ate a whole new gen­er­a­tion of kids who are ad­dicted to nico­tine,” Murthy told The As­so­ci­ated Press. “If that leads to the use of other to­bacco-re­lated prod­ucts, then we are go­ing to be mov­ing back­ward in­stead of for­ward.”

Bat­tery-pow­ered e-cig­a­rettes turn liq­uid nico­tine into an in­hal­able va­por with­out the harm­ful tar gen­er­ated by reg­u­lar cig­a­rettes. Va­p­ing was first pushed as safer for cur­rent smok­ers. There’s no sci­en­tific con­sen­sus on the risks or ad­van­tages of va­p­ing, in­clud­ing how it af­fects the like­li­hood of some­one ei­ther pick­ing up reg­u­lar to­bacco prod­ucts or kick­ing the habit.

Fed­eral fig­ures show that last year, 16 per­cent of high school stu­dents re­ported at least some use of e-cig­a­rettes - even some who say they’ve never smoked a con­ven­tional cig­a­rette. While not all con­tain nico­tine, Murthy’s re­port says e-cig­a­rettes are the most com­monly used to­bac­core­lated prod­uct among youth.

Nico­tine is bad for a de­vel­op­ing brain no mat­ter how it’s ex­posed, Murthy said. “Your kids are not an ex­per­i­ment,” he says in a pub­lic ser­vice an­nounce­ment be­ing re­leased with the re­port.

It’s al­ready il­le­gal to sell e-cig­a­rettes to mi­nors. Ear­lier this year, the Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion is­sued new rules that, for the first time, will re­quire mak­ers of nico­tine-emit­ting de­vices to be­gin sub­mit­ting their in­gre­di­ents for reg­u­la­tors to re­view. The va­p­ing in­dus­try ar­gues the reg­u­la­tions will wipe out small com­pa­nies in fa­vor of more harm­ful prod­ucts, and likely will lobby the in­com­ing Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion to undo the rules.

Murthy’s re­port calls on par­ents and health work­ers to make con­cerns about e-cig­a­rettes clear to young peo­ple. He said lo­cal of­fi­cials should take ac­tion, too, such as in­clud­ing e-cig­a­rettes in in­door smoke-free poli­cies. — AP

WASH­ING­TON: In this Feb 4, 2014, photo, US Sur­geon Gen­eral ap­pointee Vivek Murthy ap­pears on Capi­tol Hill. — AP

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