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Why is the e-cigarette so popular among young people? And six other questions about vaping

There are increasing concerns that the use of an e-cigarette for young people is a stepping stone to smoking tobacco cigarettes. This is reported by the Trimbos Institute. Seven questions (and answers) about hot vaping.

1. What’s going on?

The Trimbos Institute has combined various studies and has come to the conclusion that e-cigarettes for young people are a ‘step product’ to tobacco cigarettes. “Uit rossen more discovered that children who use an e-cigarette, then also an ordinary epidemiologist,” says the arts of the Trimbos Institute against RTL Nieuws.

2. Is the use of e-cigarettes dangerous?

The tobacco industry and doctors disagree on that. A regular cigarette burns tobacco. The substances released during this process cause, among other things, (lung) cancer and heart disease. e liquids has enough information. Electronic cigarettes vaporize a liquid that usually contains nicotine and a flavoring.

An e-cigarette lacks the combustion products of tobacco, but many substances are released in the vapor, such as nicotine and a lot of propylene glycol, according to Hetbos Instituut. This vapor may contain traces of toxic and carcinogenic substances, which can have health consequences.

“You don’t want children to ingest carcinogenic substances,” says Wanda de Kanter, pulmonologist at the Antoni van Leeuwenhoek hospital and activist against the tobacco industry. “And you don’t want kids to become addicted to nicotine either.”

Six dead after using e-cigarette in US: should the Dutch be concerned?

The problem is that we know too little about the safety of e-cigarettes in the long term, says De Kanter. Tobacco cigarettes started last year before an epidemic of lung cancer started. “

Hundreds of people in the United States are already suffering from an unknown long illness associated with e-cigarette use. That does not mean that we should also be concerned: Europe has very strict standards when it comes to production. For example, the e-cigarettes they use in America are allowed to contain much more nicotine.

3. But, everyone knows that e-cigarettes are bad too, right?

Most adults do, thinks Croes of the Trimbos Institute. “It’s a different story for young people. They often think that they don’t become addictive or that it can’t be so unhealthy because of the fruity flavors.” Those flavors give children the impression that it is an innocent product. They don’t think that in e-cigarettes no steed is a light substance.”

4. How many people smoke e-cigarettes?

Users of the e-cigarette are mainly adults who smoke, have smoked/or want to quit, and young people. In 2018, 3.1 percent of adults in the Netherlands once used an e-cigarette, according to figures from the Trimbos Institute. 4.3 percent said they were former e-cigarette users.

More striking are the figures for young people. In 2017, 27.5 percent of students aged 12 to 16 have ever used an e-cigarette, and of MBO and HBO students aged 16 to 18 44. Precise figures on how many Dutch young people regularly use e-cigarettes are not there (yet).

5. Why is the e-cigarette so popular among young people?

That’s because of those flavours, says Croes. But also because of nicotine salt in some new models of e-cigarettes. “Nicotine is dirty in the beginning and causes a nasty tickle in your throat,” says Croes. “But if you soften it with nicotine salt and a taste, you don’t notice it so much anymore.”

According to lung specialist De Kanter, it also has everything to do with marketing. In the Netherlands, (electronic) cigarettes may not be advertised, but the tobacco industry is finding creative solutions for this, says De Kanter. e-cigarettes has enough information. “For example, influencers multiple with e-cigarettes on social media. That marketing is completely aimed at children.”

6. What is already being done to discourage use among young people?

Stores are not allowed to sell (electronic) cigarettes to young people under the age of 18. The Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) regularly carries out age checks by using placed mystery shoppers. If shops do sell their products to young people under the age of 18, fines will follow. That starts with a fine of 450 euros, but can go up to 45,000 euros from the closure of the store.

7. What remains to be done?

According to De Kanter, there are also positive developments. For example, a majority in the House of Representatives supports a plan to reduce the sale of cigarettes in gas stations and supermarkets to zero next year. “E-cigarettes may then only be sold in tobacconists. As a minor you will not enter there so quickly and the number of points of sale will certainly decrease.”

Croes and De Kanter also believe that fruity flavors should be banned. “Stra tighter legislation on flavors is important. I propose to produce flavors that young people like,” says Croes. But is that allowed? “With tobacco, that has already been the case. That’s how menthol goes out, other flavorings are already banned.”

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