Behind E-cigarette Safety Risks And Popularity Among Teens

E-cigarettes or e-cigs have quickly become a status symbol among teens — and are alarming parents and lawmakers including the FDA. So are these new phenomenons safe?

While they emerged less than 15 years ago, e-cigs have recently skyrocketed from niche market to billions of dollars in sales. San Francisco-based company JUUL dominates more than ¾ of the e-cig market and is now worth billions of dollars.

But USC’s Jessica L. Barrington-Trimis says that these devices can have a dangerous impact on their health. They put teens at risk for a long-term nicotine dependence, and can be super damaging to their developing brains.

They originally seemed like a promising alternative to smoking cigarettes. The first modern e-cigarette was patented in 2003. The contents of the liquid or vapor flavors, can vary depending on manufacturer. In JUUL’s case, e-liquid contains glycerol, propylene glycol, and benzoic acid.

Sites like Instagram have raised the profile of vaping via tricks and stunts broadcasted on the platform. This has helped it soar in popularity among teens.

The FDA is currently seeking more answers as to how to stop teens from using e-cigarettes, and how to develop therapies for those who already vape. Because of the mounting scrutiny against it, JUUL has recently suspended the sale of its flavored products.

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