Although new-generation e-cigarettes are intended for adult smokers who want to quit smoking, they are attracting more and more teenagers who have never smoked in their lives. And many of them have developed a nicotine addiction, fear experts in public health.
“It’s a feeling of nicotine, but it does not stink, it smells good,” says a young fifth-year high school in the Montreal area. “It’s small, it’s easy to transport, it’s easy to hide.” This youngster estimates that at his school, one third of students his age have already tried the new vapers.
In American high schools, almost a quarter of students have tried vaping. The phenomenon is increasingly visible in high schools in Montreal and elsewhere in Canada.
In the United States, the director of the US Public Health Service speaks of an epidemic. The use of the electronic cigarette jumped from 12% to 21% between September 2017 and 2018. In Canada, the consumption of vaping products by young people would also have grown significantly.
In some high schools in Montreal and Vancouver, the directorates decided to restrict access to toilets to prevent the use of the electronic cigarette.
In recent months, the number of young people using e-cigarettes has skyrocketed, says Flory Doucas, director of the Quebec Coalition for Tobacco Control. And the students we met confirm it. “This year is exponential,” says a 16-year-old student from the Montreal area.
There are many who do that in school. Some [vapotent] in the toilet or in the lockers. There are some who do that in class.
High school youth
And students say that teachers and principals are just starting to realize it.
The new electronic cigarettes generate a lot less steam. The vaping is very discreet. In addition, there are more videos where we share different techniques of stealth vaping (s tealth vaping ).
We are talking about tens of thousands of young people who have fallen into the trap. It’s hard to think that we will become addicted, that we are in a trap of dependence when it tastes mango!
Flory Doucas, Director of the Quebec Coalition for Tobacco Control
Disturbing levels of nicotine
Professor David Hammond of the Department of Public Health at the University of Waterloo warns that “new electronic cigarettes contain a lot of nicotine”. On the most popular devices, a single refill cartridge equals the nicotine of a pack of cigarettes. The latest data compiled by Professor Hammond reveals that an increasing number of young people are vaping on a regular basis.
The director of the Quebec Coalition for Tobacco Control adds: “With the latest generation of vaping devices, the amount of nicotine is so high and the use is so easy that people who have never smoked become hooked quickly . ”
At the National Institute of Public Health of Quebec (INSPQ), the scientific advisor Annie Montreuil explains that “recent studies in the laboratory suggest that the use of nicotine in young people can have an impact on the development of the brain and cause problems learning and memory.
Vape is less harmful than tobacco, says the INSPQ. But we still do not know the impact of vaping in the long term. “The long-term effects of the ingredients in the electronic cigarette liquid are poorly understood,” says Montreuil. “For example, the main ingredient is propylene glycol. That’s what makes fake smoke in shows. We do not know what it’s like to inhale deeply over a long period. ”
It is not necessary for young people to use it on a regular basis to feel addictive symptoms.
Annie Montreuil, Scientific Advisor National Institute of Public Health of Quebec
Better regulation needed?
The manufacturers of Juul and Stlth indicate on the site that their product is intended for adult smokers who wish to quit smoking. It can also read that the vapers are not intended for minors.
The chief of operations of the company Stlth, adds take these allegations very seriously. Mark Hamdan argues that the company has no interest in selling to minors, that the company has adopted control measures and intends to implement others. The Stlth leader adds that governments should tighten regulation.
Those who advocate for better control of electronic cigarettes, such as Flory Doucas, believe that young people should not become guinea pigs. The guinea pigs of a product whose health effects may not be known until about twenty years from now.