The Surgeon General is worried about young people vaping — here’s what you need to know

It turns out Leonardo DiCaprio isn’t the only e-cigarette enthusiast out there. Vaping is on the rise, especially among young people, and that could potentially have some dangerous consequences.

On Thursday, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy released a report that called the rising use of e-cigarettes among youth a “major public health concern.”

According to the report, e-cigarette use in 2015 was at 16% among high schoolers (up from 13.4% in 2014) and 5.3% among middle schoolers.

Although e-cigarettes are considered safer than regular cigarettes because they don’t rely on combustion and therefore don’t produce the same carcinogenic particles, smoking them can still have negative effects, especially on young people’s developing brains.


“Adolescent brains are sensitive to nicotine’s effects, the report said, and can experience “a constellation of nicotine-induced neural and behavioral alterations.

Traditional cigarette smoking meanwhile, has fallen from 15.8% in 2011 to 9.3% in 2015, though this drop is not conclusively linked to the rise of vaping.


In fact, the nicotine in e-cigarettes could actually make adolescents more likely to smoke traditional cigarettes. A study in the journal Pediatrics found that “flavored e-cigarette use is associated with increased risks of smoking among youth.”

The Surgeon General’s report put forth a number of policy proposals to curb e-cigarette use, including incorporating e-cigarettes into current smoke-free policies, preventing young people from buying e-cigarettes, and regulating how they are marketed.

In the meantime, let’s do our best to set an example for the young people and Revenant actors out there, and not light up.

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