Chat Day Live Question on Electronic Cigarettes

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Dr. Jack Stein speaking: We’ve got a question now. We’re going to hear from Allison, and she’s from Rockville High School right here in Rockville, Maryland.

So, let’s hear Allison’s question.

Allison D. speaking: How many kids smoke electronic cigarettes in comparison to regular cigarettes?

Dr. Jack Stein speaking: Thanks for your question, Allison, appreciate hearing it.

It gives us an opportunity to talk a little about e-cigarettes.

And with us is Dr. Eric Wargo from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Welcome Dr. Eric.

Dr. Eric Wargo speaking: Thank you. Great to be here.

Dr. Jack Stein speaking: OK, our question from Allison has to do with, actually, a comparison between e-cigarettes and traditional, or combustible, cigarettes.

Can you tell us a little about, kind of, the differences in use patterns?

Dr. Eric Wargo speaking: Yeah, well, actually, it’s really interesting.

tThe e-cigarettes are now more popular among young people than traditional cigarettes.

Which is, actually, great news at least as far as the traditional cigarettes are, only--I think last year in our Monitoring the Future survey--only 11 percent of high school seniors had used traditional cigarettes in the past month.

And, actually, more seniors were using e-cigarettes.

Now, that’s--you know, it’s good that less and less teens are using traditional cigarettes, because, obviously, we know that they have terrible health effects.

But we don’t really know much about the effects of e-cigarettes yet.

We don’t know--they don’t deliver the same tar to the lungs that cause lung cancer, but we don’t know what else they may do.

And they still often deliver nicotine to the brain, which--that is a very addictive drug, and so, we still have a lot to learn.

Dr. Jack Stein speaking: Yeah, so, what we’re hearing is, though cigarette smoking is down amongst kids, that’s--which is good news--the use of nicotine is still being used.

And e-cigarettes is one of the ways to get that.

Dr. Eric Wargo speaking: Absolutely.

Dr. Jack Stein speaking: Yeah, OK. So, do you think research can help, you know, solve some of the problems around our understanding of it?

Dr. Eric Wargo speaking: Well, absolutely, and we’re doing lots of research on this.

Right now, a lot of--NIH is funding a lot of research into e-cigarettes.

And, so, hopefully we’ll know more in the coming years about whether they’re harmful, whether they’re beneficial, and how people are using these things.

Dr. Jack Stein speaking: Terrific. Well, thanks for being here today, and thanks for being a part of Chat Day. We really appreciate it.

Well, Allison, thanks for your question, and, hopefully, you liked our answer and it was helpful.

For everybody watching, this is our last live feed of the day, but we’ll be on the Chat Day for about another hour.

Thanks for participating.

Take a look at the bottom of your screen.

You should see a really important website, which is the NIDA teen website.

It’s information, factual information, about what we know about drugs, including alcohol.

And we hope you check it out, because you need to make some informed decisions, and science is a way to understand that.

And NIDA is all about understanding what drugs and alcohol can do to you.

So, check out the website, and thanks for tuning in and participating in Chat Day.

Take care. Be healthy.

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Video Length: 3:32