Report: ENDS increases risk of youth using cigarettes

Published 4:17 pm Thursday, February 15, 2018

Touted as an alternative to tobacco products, a recent study indicates electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) is proving to be a risk to youth across the country.

The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine recently released a congressionally-mandated report featuring more than 800 peer-reviewed studies about the effects “e-cigarettes” can have on the human body.

“E-cigarettes cannot be simply categorized as either beneficial or harmful,” David Eaton, chair of the committee that wrote the report, and dean and vice provost of the Graduate School of the University of Washington, Seattle, said in the release issued with the report. “In some circumstances, such as their use by non-smoking adolescents and young adults, their adverse effects clearly warrant concern. In other cases, such as when adult smokers use them to quit smoking, they offer an opportunity to reduce smoking-related illness.”

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One conclusion, highlighted by the State of Tennessee Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services, states there is “substantial evidence that e-cigarette use by youth and young adults increases their risk of ever using conventional cigarettes.”

Jilian Reece, Carter County Drug Prevention Coalition director, knows all too well about the ramifications ENDS can have on local youth. Prior to working as the director, Reece served as a health educator dealing with tobacco issues with the Carter County Health Department.

“We know that ENDS are now the most commonly used form of tobacco by youth and using ENDS and conventional cigarettes is most common among youth and young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 according to the CDC,” Reece said. “Teens reported they feel ENDS are less harmful than cigarette products and that is alarming because we don’t have great research around ENDS and their effects at this time. This report makes it very important for us to work on education and prevention around these devices for the youth and young adults for the region.”

Reece, along with health department representation, host the county’s TNSTRONG Youth Board, which delves into various topics and initiatives to help promote tobacco cessation for area youth.

Along with billboards and posters being created to highlight the “Starters Never Start” campaign, the board is also working to compile signatures to help make it illegal for family members to smoke in the car with children.

Moving forward, Reece added a goal is to help come up with ways to tackle the issue by coming up with ordinances naming ENDS along with tobacco products.

Visit for a more detailed look at the report.