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Experts @NJHealth say e-cigarettes may be sparking a new iSmoke generation. Details on dangers here: bit.ly/N6JrzZ  
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Meet the Expert

David Tinkleman, MD


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Amy Lukowski, PsyD


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E-Cigarettes Helping Spark New ISmoke Generation

In one year, middle and high school students who tried e-cigarettes doubled to nearly two million

DENVER, CO -- March 17, 2014 -- While major cities like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles have taken steps to ban the use of e-cigarettes in most public places, national authorities have done little to keep them out of the hands of children.

“E-cigarettes are easy to find, easy to use and easy to hide for far too many children in this country,” said Amy Lukowski, PsyD, MPH, a psychologist at National Jewish Health in Denver, “and what’s worse is that they are being marketed directly to adolescents.”

Unlike the restrictions that have been placed on the marketing and advertising of tobacco products for decades, there are virtually no rules when it comes to e-cigarettes.  “We haven’t seen a television commercial for a tobacco product since 1971, but suddenly e-cigarettes are everywhere,” said Lukowski.

Not only are they on billboards and in magazines, but they’re also being marketed on television and “directly to teenagers on social media,” she said.  “We are taking steps backwards by re-normalizing smoking,” said Lukowski, “and if nicotine gets into the hands of adolescents we have a real problem.”

Critics often counter that not all e-cigarettes contain nicotine, and those that do contain it might actually be helpful to those who are trying to quit using tobacco.

“The problem is, there’s no regulation as to the dose of nicotine that’s in these products,”  said David Tinkleman, MD, medical director of the smoking cessation programs at National Jewish Health. “Some electronic cigarettes deliver a very high content of nicotine - far, far higher than smoking several cigarettes,” he said. In the hands of children that can be dangerous.

“There’s a part of the brain that’s called the limbic system that is very susceptible to the effects of nicotine, and it relates to behavior control as well as emotional development,” said Tinkleman. “Children who may become addicted early in life and use these products in a relatively high dose, and over a prolonged period of time during their adolescence, may in fact have life-long changes in their brain development,” he said.

Because of that concern, Tinkleman is urging the Food and Drug Administration to take steps to keep e-cigarettes away from children. “If the FDA is going to allow these products, I would like to see them regulate the dosage of nicotine that goes into them,” he said. “I would also like to see an age limit of 21 for using them until we know more about them.  Finally, regulations are needed around the advertising and marketing of these products, particularly as they relate to children,” said Tinkleman.

Lukowski agrees. “What I’ve seen is that the popularity of e-cigarettes is really out-pacing our knowledge,” she said. “We don’t know much about them still, but what we do know is that in just one year (2011-2012) the number of middle and high school students who tried e-cigarettes more than doubled to nearly two million” she said.

That’s a frightening thought for Tinkleman. “It doesn’t take long from using these products and ingesting the nicotine to become addicted to them,” he said. “Once that happens, you’ve got someone who becomes a user for a longer period of time, maybe even for life. So, we’ve got to do something to keep these out of the hands of children, and time is of the essence,” he said.

 

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Doctors disturbed by sharp rise in e-cigarette use among students
Doctors at National Jewish Health in Denver are urging the FDA to take a stance on the use of e-cigarettes, particularly by minors. Studies show e-cigarette use among middle and high school students more than doubled between 2011-2012 to nearly two million, yet there have been no federal guidelines issued about their use or efforts to market them to children.
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Doctors say nicotine in e-cigarettes could alter brain development in teens
Though many large cities in the U.S. have banned the use of e-cigarettes in most public places, the federal government has been slow to react to their use or efforts by manufacturers to market them to children. Doctors say inhaling high concentrations of nicotine through e-cigarettes could cause considerable and permanent changes in the brain development of adolescents. Experts at National Jewish Health in Denver are urging the FDA to take a stance on e-cigarettes soon, to keep them out of the hands of children.
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After decades of curbing exposure to tobacco, e-cigarettes are effectively marketing to adolescents
Between 2011-2012, the CDC says use of e-cigarettes among middle and high school students more than doubled to nearly two million. Despite their growing popularity, especially among adolescents, there have been no federal guidelines put in place to keep them out of the hands of children. Doctors at National Jewish Health in Denver are calling for limits on marketing campaigns and an age limit of 21 for the use of e-cigarettes, until scientists can better understand their effect on those who use them.
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E-cigarette manufacturers use flavored products to entice younger users
With flavors like green apple, watermelon and blueberry, experts say the manufacturers of e-cigarettes are trying to lure adolescents to use their products. In just one year (2011-2012) the CDC found that use among middle and high school students more than doubled to about two million. Doctors at National Jewish Health in Denver say we don`t know enough yet about how e-cigarettes affect the body, and until we do, they are urging the FDA to establish national guidelines to keep them out of the hands of children.
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Experts at tobacco quitlines worry about a new generation of nicotine addicts
Amy Lukowski, PsyD, MPH, oversees a tobacco quitline at National Jewish Health in Denver that services 12 states. Lukowski says her counselors field calls from up to 22,000 people a month who are already addicted to nicotine, and she is worried those numbers will only grow because of the rapid rise in popularity of e-cigarettes. There have been no efforts to regulate the amount of nicotine in e-cigarettes, some of which contain several times the amount currently found in other tobacco products. Lukowski says e-cigarettes are heavily marketed to adolescents, who are more vulnerable to nicotine addiction than adults.
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