Date of Award
Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences
The use of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), commonly referred to as e-cigarettes, has become a deadly habit among adolescents across the nation. These devices are attractive with their sleek design, fun flavors, and youthful advertisements. E-Cigarettes entered the marketplace around 2007, and since 2014, they have been the most commonly used tobacco product among U.S. youth. In 2018, more than 3.6 million U.S. youth, including 1 in 5 high school students and 1 in 20 middle school students, currently use e-cigarettes. There have been increasing lung infections and chronic lung diseases rising in the younger community. The strong adolescent appeal for E-cigarettes began in the latter half of 2019, when the US investigated an outbreak of lung injuries associated with the use of E-cigarettes or vaping products, and as of February 2020 there have been 2,807 hospitalized E-cigarettes, or vaping, product-use associated lung injury (EVALI) cases or deaths. There is an increasing concern of the threat of COVID-19 on the younger community because they have been exposing their lungs to these aerosol devices.
Researchers have looked into E-cigarette advertisements, especially the community to which they appeal, as well as how E-cigarette use increases an adolescent’s chance of smoking regular cigarettes in the future5. Regulations and laws are needed to control and keep the tobacco companies accountable for their sales of the products. Schools need the proper curriculum in order to educate students on the danger of ENDS. A concern with E-cigarettes is the potential gateway effect to other dangerous drugs. E-cigarettes can contain nicotine and THC components causing multiple health and lung problems among its chronic users. The longevity of E-cigarette use is unknown, and it is important to consider the developing adolescent brain and how nicotine exposure can affect memory, attention, motivation, and many other functions. Scientists and physicians should be emphasizing the importance of conveying the dangers to parents in regard to the clinical observations such as any physiological changes in an adolescent body from exposure to high doses of nicotine and THC. Simultaneously, educating students to understand the significant life-altering changes from continual E-cigarette use is vital at this stage in their lives.
Objective: Improving adolescent education on the effects of E-cigarette and emphasizing importance in the classrooms as well as in society in order to help prevent any detrimental long-term effects.
Congdon, Sarah, "Adolescents and E-cigarette Use: Long-term Effects, Behaviors and Lung Injury" (2020). PCOM Capstone Projects. 18.