Teen e-cigarette use spikes | KOB 4

Teen e-cigarette use spikes

Patrick Hayes
December 18, 2018 06:08 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— Dr. Shawn Sidhu, a psychiatrist with the University of New Mexico, told KOB that parents and teachers have to work harder to educate students about the dangers of using e-cigarettes.


Sidhu said data continues to show dramatic increases in the number of young people vaping.

“Adolescents have brains that are still developing and there are numerous studies that show vaping and nicotine use, in particular, can affect adolescent attention, memory, learning and also make it more likely for them to be impulsive," he said.

Sidhu added that e-cigs are healthier than real cigarettes but that doesn’t mean they’re harmless.

He said nicotine use while young can increase a person’s chances of developing a mental health condition or a cognitive issue like Alzheimer’s later in life.

Tuesday, U.S. Surgeon General Vice Adm. Jerome M. Adams released an advisory, calling teen vaping an epidemic.

“We need to protect our kids from all tobacco products, including all shapes and sizes of e-cigarettes,” said Adams. “Everyone can play an important role in protecting our nation’s young people from the risks of e-cigarettes.”

According to a study released Monday, 37 percent of seniors have tried vaping, up from just under 28 percent in 2017.

“There is an epidemic of use of e-cigarettes going – a 78 percent increase in high schoolers using these products in just the past year," Adams said. "For the first time in over forty years, we've seen a doubling of the rate of use of a substance in just over a year.”

Sidhu wants parents and officials to start taking a more proactive approach when it comes to teens using e-cigs.

"So the first thing is open those lines of communication, get parents talking. Doctors need to be talking to kids about this and certainly at the school level – and not just talking about it but putting interventions in place."

According to a spokesperson with Albuquerque Public Schools, the district bans e-cigarettes but they’re updating their policy to cover all of the bases.


Patrick Hayes

Copyright 2019 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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