Children and adolescents are highly susceptible to nicotine addiction, which affects their brain development, even in those who smoke infrequently. Young people who become addicted to nicotine are at greater risk of becoming lifelong tobacco consumers. The use of nicotine-delivering electronic cigarettes has risen dramatically among youths worldwide. In addition to physical dependence, adolescents are susceptible to social and environmental influences to use electronic cigarettes. The product design, flavours, marketing, and perception of safety and acceptability have increased the appeal of electronic cigarettes to young people, thus leading to new generations addicted to nicotine. Moreover, there is growing evidence that electronic cigarettes in children and adolescents serve as a gateway to cigarette smoking. There can be no argument for harm reduction in children. To protect this vulnerable population from electronic cigarettes and other nicotine delivery devices, we recommend that electronic cigarettes be regulated as tobacco products and included in smoke-free policies. Sale of electronic cigarettes should be barred to youths worldwide. Flavouring should be prohibited in electronic cigarettes, and advertising accessible by youths and young adults be banned. Finally, we recommend greater research on the health effects of electronic cigarettes and surveillance of use across different countries.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine