Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Kyla. Kyla Wonders, “Why do some people vape?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Kyla!
When it comes to bad habits, kids tend to learn early on that there are certain things you shouldn't do. Don't pick your nose. Don't bite your fingernails. Don't talk without raising your hand. Don't run with scissors.
As you grow older, you learn there are other bad habits that you definitely should stay away from. One prime example: smoking cigarettes. Smoking cigarettes is an addictive habit with a wide range of consequences that can be harmful to your health.
Efforts to educate children about the dangers of cigarette smoking have paid off. The number of kids today who smoke cigarettes is at an all-time low. However, a new bad habit that can be just as dangerous has arisen to tempt a new generation of youngsters.
Over the past several years, e-cigarettes have entered the marketplace and become very popular. Some people claim that they're a safe alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes, but are they?
E-cigarettes — short for electronic cigarettes — are smoking devices powered by batteries. They're often designed to look and feel like regular tobacco cigarettes. Instead of tobacco, however, they use cartridges filled with liquid known as e-liquid or e-juice.
E-liquids typically contain nicotine, flavorings, and a variety of other chemicals. E-cigarettes contain heating elements that convert the e-liquids into a vapor that the user inhales. This is why using e-cigarettes is often called "vaping."
Proponents of e-cigarettes point out that they don't burn tobacco, so users don't inhale the tar and carbon monoxide found in tobacco smoke. Does this make e-cigarettes safe, though?
Health experts say "no." They highlight the fact that e-cigarette users still consume unhealthy amounts of addictive nicotine. Moreover, e-liquids are mostly unregulated and have been found to contain a variety of other harmful chemicals, some of which are known to cause cancer.
Although many experts believe e-cigarettes are less dangerous than tobacco cigarettes, they're still a bad habit you don't want to start. Some opponents of e-cigarettes dislike the fact that e-liquids come in such a wide variety of flavors, some of which appear to be targeted toward kids.
Others worry that e-cigarettes will become a gateway to using tobacco cigarettes. Kids may try e-cigarettes thinking they're safer. Once they're hooked on nicotine, however, they may move on to tobacco cigarettes for a more potent nicotine fix.
Recent scientific studies suggest that there indeed may be a link between e-cigarette use and trying tobacco cigarettes. For example, a 2016 study published in the journal Pediatrics concluded that teens who had never smoked tobacco cigarettes but who had used e-cigarettes were six times more likely to try tobacco cigarettes than kids who had never used e-cigarettes.