Blog written by: Dhrithi Bhat
Electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes, have gained popularity among adolescents over the past decade. E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that heat a liquid (usually containing nicotine) into an aerosol that is inhaled. While e-cigarettes are often marketed as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes, the impact of e-cigarette use on adolescent health is a matter of growing concern.
A study was conducted by Xuechao et. al in 2022. This meta-analysis summarized the results of 10 cross-sectional studies that provided comprehensive evidence of an association between e-cigarette use and asthma in adolescents. Results showed that e-cigarette use (now and always) was associated with asthma. To rule out possible confounding factors (e.g., smoking), the results of the subgroup analysis for e-cigarette use alone are consistent with the main findings.
There are many other negative health effects associated with e-cigarettes on youth. Some of them are -
Increased Risk of Nicotine Addiction: Nicotine is an addictive substance that is present in most e-cigarettes. Nicotine exposure during adolescence can have long-term effects on brain development, leading to an increased risk of addiction and other psychiatric disorders.
Respiratory Issues: E-cigarette use can lead to respiratory issues such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. A study conducted by the American Thoracic Society found that e-cigarette use was associated with an increased risk of respiratory symptoms among adolescents.
Cardiovascular Issues: E-cigarette use has been shown to have negative effects on cardiovascular health, including increased heart rate and blood pressure.
Negative Impact on Mental Health: Studies have shown that e-cigarette use is associated with an increased risk of depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues among adolescents.
Increased Risk of Substance Abuse: Adolescents who use e-cigarettes are more likely to experiment with other substances, including traditional cigarettes and marijuana.
In addition to these health concerns, e-cigarette use among adolescents is also associated with a number of behavioural issues, lack of focus, increased risk-taking behaviour, and decreased impulse control.
Given the potential health risks associated with e-cigarette use among adolescents, it is important for parents, educators, and healthcare professionals to be aware of the dangers and to discourage the use of e-cigarettes among this age group.
- Soneji S, Barrington-Trimis JL, Wills TA, et al. Association between initial use of e-cigarettes and subsequent cigarette smoking among adolescents and young adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Pediatrics. 2017;171(8):788-797.
- National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Public Health Consequences of E-Cigarettes. National Academies Press, 2018.
- Meernik C, Baker HM, Paci K, Fischer-Brown I, et al. Electronic Cigarette Use and Perceptions of Nicotine Addiction among Young Adults. J Adolesc Health. 2017; 61(2): 192–197.
- Hammond D, Reid JL, Driezen P, Boudreau C, et al. Pictorial health warnings on cigarette packages and the impact on women. BMC Public Health. 2011; 11: 572.
- Grana RA, Ling PM. "Smoking Revolution": a content analysis of electronic cigarette retail websites. Am J Prev Med. 2014; 46(4):395-403.