E-cigarettes are popular with young people. The Surgeon General issued an advisory on e-cigarette use among youth. He made the bold statement that e-cigarette use among youth is an epidemic.
A key concern in the advisory is the large increase in use among high school students. Current e-cigarette use increased 78 percent in the past year, from 11.5 percent in 2017 to 20.8 percent in 2018. Another concern is nicotine exposure during adolescence. Nicotine exposure during adolescence can impact learning, memory, and attention. It affects brain development, which continues to age 25. It can increase risk for future addiction to other drugs. In addition to nicotine, heavy metals, volatile organic compounds, and ultra fine particles have been found in e-cigarettes.
The Surgeon General also writes that many e-cigarette flavors are considered appealing to young people and that chemicals in these flavors have additional health risks.