The impact of electronic cigarettes on the paediatric population
- Correspondence to Dr Elizabeth L Durmowicz, Center for Tobacco Products, US Food and Drug Administration, 9200 Corporate Blvd, Rockville, MD 20850, USA;
- Received 2 December 2013
- Accepted 21 February 2014
Objective To review the impact of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) on children.
Methods Five electronic databases were searched through 31 December 2013. Studies in English that included data for children younger than 18 years of age were included. In addition, relevant data from articles identified during searches of the e-cigarette literature, relevant state survey data and paediatric voluntary adverse event reports submitted to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) were reviewed and included.
Results Use of e-cigarettes by youth is increasing and is not limited to traditional cigarette smokers. Data regarding the reasons for youth e-cigarette initiation and ongoing use are limited. The effects of e-cigarette marketing and the availability of flavoured e-liquids on youth use are unknown. The abuse liability of e-cigarettes in youth is also not known. Unintentional exposures to e-cigarettes and e-liquids have been reported in children. The number of e-cigarette-related reports received by poison centres is increasing. No data are available on secondhand and thirdhand e-cigarette aerosol exposures in children.
Conclusions Data on the impact of e-cigarettes on children are extremely limited. The available data indicate that youth awareness is high and use is increasing rapidly. The extent to which e-cigarette use in youth will result in nicotine dependence and subsequent use of other tobacco products is unknown. e-cigarettes present risks of unintentional nicotine exposure and are potential choking hazards. A greater understanding of the impact of e-cigarettes on children is needed and will be important in the evaluation of the effects of these products on the public health.
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