Washington, December 09: Though the e-cigarettes are often promoted as safer alternatives to traditional cigarettes, which deliver nicotine by burning tobacco, little is actually known yet about the health risks of using these devices.
A new government report from the U.S. surgeon general has revealed that the e-cigarette use among youth Americans has become a "public health threat."
The report came amid "alarming" rates of youth and young adult use of e-cigarettes in the United States, with about one in six high school students in the country reporting the use of an e-cigarette in the past month last year.
"As I meet parents and teachers, elected officials and healthcare professionals across this country, I found that confusion about why e-cigarette is widespread. People wonder what's in e-cigarettes. Are they safe for kids? Are they a safe alternative to smoking?" U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy asked in a press conference announcing the release of the report.
"The message from the report is clear: nicotine-containing products in any form, including e-cigarettes, are unsafe for use," he said. The growing use of e-cigarettes "threatens 50 years of hard-fought progress that we have made curbing tobacco use and it places a whole new generation at risk for addiction to nicotine."
The report, which was written and reviewed by more than 150 experts, is the first comprehensive federal review of the public health impact of e-cigarettes on youth people in the United States, reports Xinhua.
It found that e-cigarettes are now the most commonly used tobacco product among youth in the country and that the situation is worrisome because many e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is a highly addictive chemical and has long-term adverse effects on the developing brain of adolescents and young adults.
The use of e-cigarette is also strongly associated with the use of other tobacco products and research has shown that kids who use e-cigarettes are more likely to use traditional cigarettes, according to the report.
The report also noted that aerosol from the e-cigarette is not harmless water vapour for either the users or those who inhale it second-hand, because it can contain harmful and potentially harmful ingredients, including nicotine.