CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Medical experts from Roper St. Francis Hospital are raising red flags over teen usage of electronic cigarette products. This comes as several school districts across the state and country have filed a civil lawsuit against industry giants like JUUL.
Electronic cigarette and vaping use has been a growing trend in recent years seen in school districts in the Lowcountry and beyond. Several school districts are taking the fight to federal court. Medical experts say regulations on the electronic nicotine products need to be established before too much damage is done to those relying on them.
Electronic vaping and electronic cigarettes are popular among school-age kids largely due to being easily hidden, easy accessibility while packing fruitful flavors. Medical experts are issuing warnings on the popular products.
“We’ve found they can cause severe lung disease or early onset emphysema and some causes of those have been eliminated but we’re finding new things as time goes on,” says Dr. Adam Mace, a Thoracic Surgeon at Roper St. Francis Hospital.
A battle between electronic cigarettes versus regular cigarettes Dr. Mace says while the electronic version is becoming wildly popular among school-age teens, it’s a concerning trend.
“It certainly contains less tar and things like that than combustible tobacco but you know some carcinogens can still be created,” says Dr. Mace.
School districts both locally and country-wide are taking the billion dollar industry to federal court for marketing the now popular products towards an under-age demographic. The main concern for districts is the impact on students health but say the devices are also taking away from time in the classroom.
“We absolutely need to understand what is in these products,” says Dr. Mace. “What is the safety, what are the risks?”
It’s a quickly growing market which Dr. Mace says has little to no regulation. He says the lack of regulations is putting teenagers and students at greater risk just to fit in with the trend.
“It’s really variable product to product,” says Dr. Mace. “You know it’s not carefully regulated in anyway right now.”
Dr. Mace is hopeful stricter regulations and better guidelines can be established in the near future. There’s no set date for the federal lawsuit to go before a judge.