SAN FRANCISCO, June 2 (Xinhua) -- The American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST) over the weekend warned about the increasing risks of electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) addiction among young people.
E-cigarettes have become more popular among young people in many countries over the past decade, and more than 450,000 American middle school students used e-cigarettes in 2016, four times the number of reported users in the previous year, CHEST said in a campaign against e-cigarette consumption over the weekend.
In addition, the international respiratory health advocacy group also called for more actions from countries to effectively regulate e-cigarette advertising.
Smoking behavior is strongly driven by nicotine addiction, which causes changes in the brain that it requires more nicotine to function normally and eventually develops dependence among children, adolescents and young adults, CHEST said.
Statistics showed a rising trend of nicotine use in many places, which is driven by electronic nicotine delivery systems, including e-cigarettes.
The use of e-cigarettes among youth is associated with higher rates of smoking at a younger age and heavier tobacco use, which is exacerbated by tobacco advertising directly targeting young people and easier access to e-cigarettes seasoned with flavoring.
CHEST said a study found that 600 British children, aged 11 to 16 years, showed greater interest in trying e-cigarettes as a result of commercial advertising of the tobacco products.
CHEST rebuked the claims by the tobacco industry that aerosols in e-cigarettes are "harmless water vapor" as health consequences may not be known until decades later in the future.
CHEST urged banning sales of e-cigarettes to young people and regulating e-cigarettes in the same way as combustible tobacco products.
It said the use of e-cigarettes should be prohibited in indoor locations, public parks and places where children and youth are present, as non-users could be exposed to nicotine and other harmful chemicals released by e-cigarettes' vapor.