US surgeon general: teens are vaping, and that's a problem

Though some studies have found that e-cigarettes are less dangerous than traditional tobacco cigarettes, they're still more harmful than not smoking at all, and that's why a new report from the U.S. surgeon general is worrisome: teens are smoking in large numbers. According to the report, 'vaping' electronic cigarettes has 'increased considerably' among teenagers in the past few years, with more than 30-percent of youths having at least tried the devices.

Vaping, in this case, refers to devices that heat a nicotine liquid into a vapor that resembles smoke, but without the smell and tar. That's a good thing, in the sense that you'd be worse off smoking ordinary cigarettes. However, the presence of nicotine is still a risk factor for cancer, and an ingredient found in some flavorings used in ecigs have been implicated in the development of a disease called popcorn lung.

Report: 'vaping' is 95% healthier than cigarette smoking

The U.S. — and many others countries — are in the midst of a multi-decade anti-smoking push that has greatly reduced the number of smokers. While electronic cigarettes have helped many kick the cigarette habit, critics worry the devices may encourage more teens to get hooked on nicotine...teens who may have never gotten hooked on foul-tasting and expensive tobacco cigarettes.

Whether the 'gateway' criticism is a valid worry is itself a controversial stance, but regardless, the surgeon general has expressed concern about the number of teens trying and using nicotine vaping devices. According to the surgeon general's research, more than 60-percent of teenagers view occasional vaping as having little harm, though research indicates that the high potential of nicotine addition makes occasional e-cig use very risky.

SOURCE: Surgeon General