The e-cigarette conversation continues as more and more teenagers are using the devices. A 2015 survey found that 24 percent of high school students reported using e-cigarettes during the past 30 days, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has finally been given authority to regulate e-cigs, creating age restrictions, the devices are still being used by minors and young adults.
Most experts agree that electronic cigarettes are less harmful than other forms of nicotine delivery. However, nicotine is still addictive and can potentially start young people on the road to harmful behaviors that can lead to addiction. Furthermore, e-cig nicotine juices come in a number of flavors that can keep people coming back for more, where as traditional cigarettes have one flavor—you either like it or you don’t.
There have also been concerns raised about nicotine levels in e-cigarette “juices,” and how the devices are used. A new trend called “dripping,” allows e-cigarette users to get more bang for their buck, HealthDay reports. In fact, a survey shows that 1 in 4 teens have reported having tried dripping. So, what is dripping?
Normally, e-cigs users inhale to gradually draw the e-juice into a heating coil through what are known as “wicks,” creating a vapor, according to lead researcher Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin, a professor of psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn. “Dripping” is when e-cig users place drops of the nicotine juice directly onto the exposed heating coil and then quickly inhaling the thick vapor cloud produced. Krishnan-Sarin’s survey indicates that 26 percent of student e-cigarette users at eight Connecticut high schools has “dripped.”
The immediate or long term health consequences of dripping are not known yet, according to the article. Although, the chief of general pediatrics of Mount Sinai Health System in New York City, Dr. Karen Wilson, says that the more potent nicotine could impact the developing brains of teenagers.
“Adolescents should not be using nicotine at all,” Wilson said. “It changes the brain chemistry, and adolescents are uniquely susceptible to the addictive properties of nicotine.”
The findings of the report were published in Pediatrics.