E-Cigarettes Becoming More Popular With Teenagers - WBOY - Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

E-Cigarettes Becoming More Popular With Teenagers

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The Centers for Disease Control has found the rate of teens using electronic cigarettes has doubled in the past year.

Part of that could be because its easier for a minor to get their hands on an e-cigarette then a real one.

One thing that draws most people to e-cigarettes is the fact they can use them almost anywhere.

"Some people will use them in places they can't smoke just to get through it until they can get somewhere where they can actually have a cigarette," said Dawna Freeland, Fairmont General Hospital.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, describes an e-cigarette as a battery-operated device that turns nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals into a vapor that can be inhaled.

Professionals said it's becoming very popular with younger generations.

"That's the way I think. I also wonder about the addictive part of it," said Freeland. "They are doing this now. Are they going to start smoking cigarettes as soon as they turn 18 because they got that addiction?"

The Marion County Board of Education recently learned about an e-cigarette problem in its high schools.

"We've addressed the e-cigarettes as of this point as kind of like a nuisance issue, a classroom disturbance type issue. You know with the increased advertising and the increased availability of them, we anticipate this is going to be a situation we are going to have to deal with," said Gary Price, Marion County Superintendent of Schools.

Although many e-cigarettes are designed to look like regular cigarettes, professionals said they don't exactly replicate the same smoking experience.

When you smoke a regular cigarette, the nicotine gets into your bloodstream through your lungs. Most of the nicotine in e-cigarettes gets there through the soft tissue of your cheeks.

"It's not absorbed as quickly as if say you smoke a cigarette and it goes into your lungs," Freeland said. "It's the cheek where it gets absorbed. But it does eventually get absorbed and it does make its way to the brain."

Superintendent Gary Price said it's important to put a stop to the e-cigarette problem in schools before it becomes a bigger issue.

"You wouldn't allow a kid to bring a toy gun. You wouldn't allow a kid to bring a toy knife. Likewise, you don't want students when cigarettes are not permitted in school, you don't want kids bringing imitation cigarettes into school," Price said.

For now, e-cigarettes aren't specifically regulated by the FDA.

However, the agency has filed a request for the authority to regulate e-cigarettes as a tobacco product.

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