What parents say about e-cigarettes and kids

January 7, 2014

Almost half (48%) of parents across the United States are concerned or very concerned that their children and teenagers will try electronic cigarettes, according to a poll conducted by the University of Michigan. In fact, nearly 44% of parents worry that trying the electronic devices will make their adolescents more likely to start smoking tobacco products.

 

Almost half (48%) of parents across the United States are concerned or very concerned that their children and teenagers will try electronic cigarettes, according to a poll conducted by the University of Michigan. In fact, nearly 44% of parents worry that trying the electronic devices will make their adolescents more likely to start smoking tobacco products.

In the latest University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health administered in November 2013 to 2,124 adults aged 18 years and older, researchers presented arguments for and against e-cigarettes, which are currently unregulated by the US Food and Drug Administration, and then asked the participants for their opinions.

They found that roughly two-thirds (65%) of the adults surveyed think e-cigarette packaging should contain health warnings like those on tobacco and other nicotine products. They also found that the vast majority (88%) thinks regulators should require manufacturers of the devices to conduct safety testing; 86% favor prohibiting sale of the devices to minors; and 71% support prohibiting marketing of the devices on social media networking sites.

Clearly, awareness of the products is growing. A 2010 poll revealed that only one-third of adults had heard of the products, whereas this poll found that 86% of the adults surveyed were familiar with e-cigarettes.

Electronic cigarettes look like traditional cigarettes but don’t burn tobacco. In fact, they involve no flame, ash, or smoky smell of any kind. Proponents claim that the products can help tobacco smokers quit the habit and that they are healthier than tobacco products because they do not contain the hundreds of toxic chemicals that are released when tobacco is burned, such as carbon dioxide and tar. However, they do contain replaceable cartridges of liquid containing the addictive chemical in tobacco-nicotine-that is inhaled as a vapor along with flavors like chocolate, fruit, and candy.

 

 

To get weekly clinical advice for today's pediatrician, subscribe to the Contemporary Pediatrics eConsult.