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Smoking Cessation Health Center

E-Cigarettes May Not Be Gateway to Smoking: Study

It found few teens go on to smoke cigarettes, use other kinds of tobacco after 'vaping'
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E-cigarettes, which use a heating element to vaporize a liquid nicotine solution, are relatively easy for teens to purchase.

While federal rules block the sale of regular cigarettes to anyone under age 18, there are currently no such rules for e-cigarettes. About half of states prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, but they can also be bought online.

The devices are advertised on TV and popular YouTube videos. They come in sweet flavors that appeal to teens like green apple, watermelon and bubble gum.

"The use of these products is increasing dramatically," while little is known about the risks, said Scott Leischow, who co-leads the cancer prevention and control program at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz.

"It seems like we're in the midst of a national experiment," he said during a Tuesday news conference.

Wagener agreed. He said that most teens and adults who use e-cigarettes seem to be using them to stop smoking or at least to reduce the harm from smoking tobacco.

But he says that parents should be sure to let kids know that e-cigarettes still carry some risk.

"I think parents should be vigilant and talk to their kids and let them know that this not a 100-percent safe product. It's not water vapor. It's nicotine. It has carcinogens in it," he said.

"It might be less than regular cigarettes, but at the end of the day, they're still putting something that has carcinogens and toxins into their system," Wagener said.

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