A Los Angeles Times article reports that electronic cigarette use among the youth population is rising throughout the United States, but the number remains low with Fairfield’s smoking population.

In recent decades, society has learned more about cigarette use and the health problems that people develop from smoking. As a result, electronic cigarettes, or “e-cigarettes,” were developed as a potential healthier alternative for people who smoke.

Fairfield Professor Gerry Chalykoff of the School of Nursing said, “Younger people are starting them first, which can lead to later use of actual cigarettes.”

The numbers are rising in electronic cigarette use by minors, but, “much more research is needed on the health effects of e-cigarettes,” Chalykoff added.

Electronic cigarettes are “battery-powered devices that provide doses of nicotine and other additives to the user in an aerosol,” according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on Sept. 3 of this year.

The same report noted an estimated 1.78 million students have used electronic cigarettes in 2012 and that 160,000 students who reported using electronic cigarettes had never used regular cigarettes.

“This is a serious concern because the overall impact of e-cigarette use on public health remains uncertain,” the MMWP stated.

This raises the question as to why people are starting to use them at an earlier age.

“A reason why people don’t smoke is because of the smell. The reason I don’t smoke is because of the smell and obviously you can get hooked quick,” said Conner Beakey ‘17.

Beakey continued, “When you start buying packs of cigarettes, it’s going to add up. E-cigs could be a huge takeoff.

The MMWP report noted that un-marketed e-cigarettes for therapeutic purposes aren’t regulated and monitored by the Food and Drug Administration. In most states around the country, there aren’t any restrictions in selling electronic cigarettes to minors, the report added.

The Los Angeles Times article featuring electronic cigarettes among younger people, stated “one out of 10 American high school students used electronic cigarettes in 2012.”

Now that electronic cigarettes give people another option, the question raised is whether they are a better, healthier alternative to regular cigarettes.

“If it hasn’t been on the market for a long time, I would be apprehensive about using it. You never know the long term side-effects of a product, especially one that contains some level of nicotine,” said Olga Sidiropoulos ‘14.

Of the 100 students polled by The Mirror this week, only 18 said they smoked at all. However, 13 of those 18 said they smoked e-cigarettes exclusively or in addition to classic cigarettes.

Once enough time has gone by to judge the long term side effects of e-cigarettes, will this number be roughly the same, higher or lower.

Senior Jimmy Fusco said, “People who aren’t addicted to nicotine see it and think it’s a healthier alternative. They get addicted to nicotine when if they didn’t smoke at all, wouldn’t have gotten addicted to nicotine in the first place.”

“It’s so convenient. People unknowingly abuse the e-cigarette because they aren’t aware of how much they’re smoking in the day,” Fusco said.

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