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Martha Jefferson Healthwise: E-Cigarettes



Sept. 11, 2013

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the use of electronic cigarettes is on the rise especially in teens.

In this week's Martha Jefferson Healthwise report, CBS19's Stephanie Satchell looks at e-cigarettes and the possible dangers.

Electronic cigarettes are becoming more and more popular. But what exactly are they and how do they work?

"It's basically directly inhaling the nicotine so it doesn't have some of the other components with tobacco that you typically hear, some of the tar and the other ingredients, the toxins that we typically hear of with regular cigarettes," said Dr. Andrew Hawkins, Spring Creek Family Medicine.

Now the battery operated and nicotine filled devices are drawing the attention of teens.

"We are seeing heavy marketing. So, I think a by-product of that, you are seeing kids that are trying this and experimenting with it. Although, most e-cigarette makers wouldn't say this, but it seems that the marketing push has really been in some ways towards those children so they are ending up using them," said Dr. Hawkins.

According to the CDC, e-cigarette use has more than doubled in middle and high school students.

In 2011, 4.7 percent of high school students reported using e-cigarettes at some point. That number jumped to 10 percent in 2012.

Although, e-cigarettes are different from traditional cigarettes, Dr. Hawkins says they can still be harmful.

"There is some cause for concern. There have been some cigarettes marketed as nicotine-free and then when the FDA looked at them there was actually nicotine in them. There is definitely a potential for addiction," said Dr. Hawkins.

While some may believe e-cigarettes are less harmful, Dr. Hawkins says it's still too early to tell.

"They're relatively recent, so we don't really know the long term effects of those," said Dr. Hawkins.

According to the CDC, in 2012, more than 1.78 million middle and high school students across the county admitted to trying e-cigarettes.

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