Health Experts Concerned About E-Cigs Popularity With School Age - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken News, Weather, Sports

Health Experts Concerned About E-Cigs Popularity With School Age Children

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Peter Chugaev has been smoking for 45 years and for the past 15 he's been trying to quit. "You have a cup of coffee, you go on the deck, you have a cigarette," he says.

Now, he's turning to electronic cigarettes to try to quit. Users inhale, but there's no smoke. Taking a puff triggers a heating coil, which warms up liquid nicotine, in a plastic filter...resulting in nicotine-filled vapor.

But, hardcore smokers aren't the only ones seeking out e-cigarettes. Young people are, as well, and this has some health experts concerned because these products are not federally regulated and there is limited research on their safety.

"The greatest concern is that between 2011 and 2012, the rate of use between middle school and high school kids has doubled," says Dr. Sharon Bergquist, of the Emory University School of Medicine.

These products come in flavors that may appeal to young people.

U.s centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Dr. Thomas Frieden says, "Well, there are not a lot of adults who would smoke a cotton candy e-cigarette."

Health experts worry that once addicted to the nicotine in e-cigarettes, young people may branch out and try tobacco products. Manufacturers say they don't market to kids and maintain that electronic cigarettes are a good alternative to conventional cigarettes.

And, for Peter, e-cigarettes seem to be helping. He is down from a pack a day of regular cigarettes to about half that and hopes to kick the habit by the end of the year.

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