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For Flavor Or Nicotine? Here's Why US Teens Vape

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Young teens at school are inclined toward vaping mostly for the chocolate and strawberry flavors in e-cigarettes and vaporizers, reports a study conducted by Richard Miech and team from the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research.

Vaping, which has gained more popularity over the decade, is generally considered as a better alternative for smoking. When introduced to the market, the devices delivered vapors of liquid nicotine free from some of the chemicals and tars of tobacco in burning cigarettes.

The growing demand for such devices paved way for flavored fillers that contain little to no nicotine. Vaping practice became popular among people of all age groups — both smokers and non-smokers — and alarmingly increased also among teens.

In an effort to get a clear insight on the issue, the investigators conducted a nationwide survey involving almost 15,000 students studying eighth, 10th and 12th grades. According to the study published on Thursday, Aug. 25, in the British Medical journal's Tobacco Control, about 65 to 66 percent of students that used the e-cigarettes were "just flavoring" and not inclined to nicotine.

Meanwhile, about 20 to 22 percent of children in 10th and 12th grades and 13 percent of students in eighth grade used vaporizers for the sake of nicotine in them. Children in all grades that vaped marijuana was just 6 to 7 percent which is relatively low when compared with nicotine and other flavors.

"These results indicate that while taking into account vaporiser use does indeed increase tobacco/nicotine prevalence, the impact of vaporisers is likely not as large as might appear by their recent, dramatic increase in use among adolescents," noted the researchers.

Patricia Folan, the director of Center for Tobacco Control at Northwell Health in Great Neck, N.Y., appreciated the results of the survey and raised a question whether the children that tried vaping are aware of the presence of nicotine in the devices.

Falon noted that in almost 500 vaping devices, the ingredients inside are not always known or even shown on labels. Eventually, children would end up vaping without even knowing they were inhaling nicotine. She also added that there is no such thing as a harmless "e-cigarette" as vaping is dangerous to an extent when done with or without nicotine.

"Even without nicotine, inhaled products that contain flavorings can be damaging to the lung tissue and would not be considered safe for adolescents or adults," Folan said.

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