The reality is that 5.6 million U.S. kids alive today will ultimately die from smoking. Currently in California, 5.4% of high schoolers smoke traditional cigarettes and 17.5% use e-cigarettes. What’s with the rise in the use of e-cigarettes? Let’s take a look at the myths and realities of this industry.
Myth: e-cigarettes are safe.
Research has now shown that the vast number of flavored e-cigarettes contain a toxic chemical (in addition to nicotine) that is known to cause a rare form of lung cancer. The popular Juul e-cigarette also contains an acid that can trigger cough, sore throat, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. In addition, the number of children under six, who were poisoned by nicotine in e-cigarettes, has risen nearly 1,500% over the past years.
In addition, the “vape fluid” or “vape juice” used in e-cigarettes is packaged in a way that is attractive to younger children. The flavors and smells, like bubblegum and cherry vanilla, sound like a sweet treat rather than a dangerous drug. Many children don’t understand the dangers of these oils and may swallow them, thinking they are a flavored drink. The fact is that e-cigarettes are not a safe alternative to traditional cigarettes and they are highly addictive and dangerous!
Myth: Hookah is a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes.
In fact, in a side by side comparison, during an average hookah session a person inhales more nicotine than a regular cigarette! Hookah users place themselves at risk of developing oral cancer, lung cancer, stomach cancer, and esophageal cancer. In addition, research has shown that users have an increased risk of infertility and a loss of lung function.
Hookah, along with e-cigarettes and nicotine all contain toxic chemicals, and use increases the risk of heart disease. Most people associate nicotine with lung cancer, but the heart is just as affected, as nicotine is the cause behind 20% of all heart disease deaths. Sharing these facts with family can encourage a loved one to stop!
Myth: Smoking outside makes it safer for my family and friends.
Smoking exposure, whether it’s second hand or third hand, is the real deal. Children that live with a smoker of any form, even if the smoking is done outside, are ingesting and inhaling the toxins. There are over 7,000 chemicals in secondhand smoke of which 100 are toxic, and around 70 can lead to cancer. Over the past decades, over 2.5 million people alone, have died from second-hand smoke exposure.
Research has shown that no matter how good the personal hygiene (smoking jacket, washing hands, smoking outside), toxins are entering the bodies of your children. This places children at risk of heart problems and lung problems which include asthma and pneumonia along with ear infections. The scariest of all is the increase risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, for babies up to 12 months of age.
CPCMG encourages you to have a family discussion about these dangers so that everyone in the family continues to grow-up as healthy as possible. We hope that all kids can be made aware of these dangers and risks.
The great news is that help is readily available. California has a free program available to you and your family. Just call 1-800-NOBUTTS (1-800-662-8887) and you will be connected with all the help and resources you need, including over the phone counseling and nicotine replacement options. The best part is that CPCMG pediatricians are here to help and support you in every way we can.
Today is the day! A safer tomorrow starts with no smoking today!
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