Northern Health Regional Nursing Lead for Tobacco Reduction, Nancy Viney, said there is information to suggest the use of things like e-cigarettes and other similar items among young is on the rise in Canada.
While it may just be a one time thing for some, the readily available nicotine is addictive and can lead to continued use or the switch to tobacco cigarettes.
Viney explained this can lead to a number of issues, especially when considering there is not a lot of data on the long-term consequences of using e-cigarettes.
“The problem with youth [using them] is they may continue to use these and we don’t know what the health effects of them will be long term. They are less harmful than smoking but not harmless.”
One concern as to why it is becoming more common for youth to use these is to deal with mental health issues like stress, anxiety, and depression. Despite a slight short-term gain, Viney insisted the long-term damage can be even worse than young people might think.
“Nicotine is a stimulant that when you’re depressed, it may help you feel better or when you’re anxious, it may help you feel more in control; but in the long run you suffer withdrawals which make you feel that way as well. You’re better off to avoid nicotine for treating those things.”
Alternative methods to deal with mental health include going outside, being more active, and spending more time with family and friends.
Earlier this week, US Surgeon General Jerome Adams said the issue of young people using e-cigarettes has become an epidemic.