Dental trend spotlight: Are e-cigarettes safe?

The use of e-cigarettes is skyrocketing. Sales by one manufacturer grew 641% from 2.2 million devices in 2016 to 16.2 million devices in 2017.1

Vaping is especially popular among youth — so much so that U.S. health officials are calling it an epidemic. Over 3 million high school students used e-cigarettes in 2018 — a 78% increase from 2017.2 Many teens who smoke have switched to e-cigarettes, believing they are a healthier alternative. More than twice as many teens are now using e-cigarettes rather than cigarettes.

But research has found that vaping may be equally as harmful and can damage cells in your mouth. In fact, the use of e-cigarettes can lead to numerous oral health problems, including gum disease, tooth loss and oral cancer.

Health risks of e-cigarettes

• Most contain nicotine, which is highly addictive and can impair brain development in adolescents.

• Some brands include formaldehyde, which can cause cancer.

• E-cigarettes are offered in a variety of candy and fruit flavors, making them appealing to youth. Some of these are made with a chemical called diacetyl, which tastes like butter but can cause lung disease or “popcorn lung.”

Our verdict: Avoid using e-cigarettes, and talk to your kids about the potential dangers. The use of any tobacco product, including e-cigarettes, is harmful to your oral and overall health.

1,2Centers for Disease Control and Prevention