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Why vaping is so dangerous for teens

01/22/2019

(CNN) -Most of what we know about nicotine addiction in teens, we know from cigarettes. But experts say the technology and chemistry of vaping might pose an entirely different threat.

“It turns out that e-cigarette use by kids doesn’t look the same at all,” said Dr. Sharon Levy, director of the Adolescent Substance Use and Addiction Program at Boston Children’s Hospital. “How you’re delivering [nicotine] and how much you’re delivering … everything you change really matters.”

Levy said she’s seen vape-addicted kids in her program showing what appear to be psychiatric symptoms rarely seen with traditional cigarettes or among adults. Some have anxiety and cannot focus, for example.

Meanwhile, vaping has become ubiquitous in many high schools, prompting the US Food and Drug Administration to tackle “epidemic” levels of use among minors.

On Friday, the agency will hold a public hearing to discuss the role of smoking cessation drugs for kids in order to get them off vapes. There currently are no FDA-approved nicotine cessation products for e-cigarette users under 18.

Despite early fanfare that e-cigarettes might offer a less harmful alternative to adult smokers, experts say youth are being hit hard by a combination of how vapes deliver nicotine, how kids’ brains are wired and developing, and the gadgets’ unique appeal to kids.

Their long-term health effects are still unclear.

“We let this Frankenstein loose without knowing what was going to happen,” Levy said.

Read the full story at cnn.com


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