The Question Remains: Are E-Cigarettes a Gateway Drug to Tobacco?

A recent report by the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that e-cigarette use tripled between 2013 and 2014 among middle school and high school students.  At the same time, use of conventional cigarettes decreased to its lowest point in years.

Although this decrease is positive, E-cigarettes still contain addictive substances suggesting that the new drug acts as a gateway to hard tobacco. However, there is not enough proof yet for the FDA to enact further restrictions on the electronic nicotine device.

E-cigarettes eliminate the odorous smoke produced by burning tobacco and could potentially help long-time smokers quit without such fierce withdrawal effects. At the same time, the drug still has dangerous elements that could send many teens over the edge and into rehab. This product, which has seen over $2 billion in sales, contains toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde and acetaldehyde, which are known for causing cancer. It also includes heavy metals and propylene glycol, which can irritate the respiratory system.

E-cigarettes’ contribution to the dramatic overall tobacco usage increase, especially by teens, has captured the concerns of health officials. If the trendy smoking device really does prove to be a tobacco gateway, decades of efforts to combat smoking habits could be reversed, sending teens right back to rehab.


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