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U.S. Surgeon General: E-Cigarettes Unsafe, Use Up Among Youth

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has released a report on e-cigarettes, calling them unsafe and saying he is alarmed about their tremendous use by young people.

Murthy says, in addition to nicotine, e-cigarettes contain harmful and potentially harmful ingredient—including ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs; flavorants such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to serious lung disease; and volatile organic compounds and heavy metals.

Murthy says e-cigarette use has increased dramatically in the last five years, noting more high school students use e-cigarettes than regular cigarettes, and the use of e-cigarettes is higher among high school students than adults. He notes that nicotine exposure during adolescence and young childhood can cause addiction and harm to the developing brain.

The report is calling for regulations of e-cigarettes at the federal level—raising and enforcing minimum age of sale laws for all tobacco products; incorporating e-cigarettes into smoke-free policies; regulating e-cigarette marketing; sponsoring media campaigns to discuss the harm of e-cigarettes to young people; and expanding research efforts related to e-cigarettes.

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