January 6, 2017 – Brains on Nicotine


Anchor lead:  Why are e-cigarettes so dangerous for young people? Elizabeth Tracey reports

E-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product among American teenagers, and their use is growing enormously, the US Surgeon General reported recently.  Yet vaping must be less dangerous than smoking traditional cigarettes, right?  Not so fast, agree both the report and Enid Neptune, a lung expert and antismoking advocate at Johns Hopkins.

Neptune: One of the important elements of his report is that he detailed health risks of nicotine exposure during youth. Brain or neurologic development is occurring up until the mid-twenties. Nicotine exposure during adolescence can have exquisite and unique effects, clinical as well as laboratory studies show that the exposure to nicotine can have neurologic as well as psychological effects on the developing brain.  :29

E-cigarettes also contain a number of substances such as flavorings whose effects when they are combusted and inhaled aren’t known. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.