Kids are smoking again…and a social media battle boils over whether e-cigarettes are a solution or a new path to an old problem.

Chair Michael H. Greenwald, MD

After years of steady decline in smoking among young people, we are now seeing a significant rise in the use of e-cigarettes or “vaping.” In December the AAP, AAFP, ACP, and ACOG joined the AMA in issuing a public statement of support for a Surgeon General report highlighting the increased use and dangers of e-cigarettes in young people.  At the same time there is a widespread counter message seen in advertisements and social media claiming the benefits of e-cigarettes and attacking the efforts of the CDC, Surgeon General and FDA.  All physicians should become educated about the issues and be prepared to discuss them with their patients.  What are the facts?

  • “Vaping” has increased steadily in kids as young as middle school over recent years with a recent assessment at 1 in 6 high school students.
  • E-cigarettes lack the tar found in traditional cigarettes but still expose the user to nicotine, in addition to flavorants, solvents and possibly lead and formaldehyde
  • 90% of life-long smokers start in adolescence

This is not just a primary care issue.  Emergency Medicine physicians are often the only point of physician contact for teenagers.  Are you prepared to have this conversation with your patient and families?  Here are some additional resources to learn more:

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