MIAMI (CBSMiami) – In April the Food and Drug Administration announced plans to begin regulating E-cigarettes. The decision brought relief to some parents who felt it would make it harder for teens to get their hands on the nicotine vapor devices.
However, according to the American Cancer Society the government’s numbers on how many teens are using nicotine vapor devices has grown as development of those devices has increased.
So what’s the difference between an E-cigarette and a ‘vapor pen’? Industry expert Cynthia Cabrera said not much.
“There are all kinds of different vapor products out there that people would classify as E-cigarettes, but they’re really vapor products,” said Cabrera.
That is why some doctors are concerned.
“An e-cigarette goes by many different names. It can be a pen, it can be a ‘vape pen’, but they all exist to do the same thing which is to deliver vaporized nicotine to the user,” said Dr. Thomas Glynn from the American Cancer Society.
He said all the different devices should raise a flag for parents.
“They’re sort of a camouflage. A lot of kids who would never be associated with a cigarette are perfectly happy to use a ‘vape pen’,” said Dr. Glynn. “Youth, as well as adults, may be somewhat confused by it.”
A recent CDC survey found 10 percent of high school students said they’d tried an E-cigarette, that number was double in 2012. The CDC also said with the rise in use of different devices and the way they posed questions on the survey, their numbers could be lower than how many kids are taking in nicotine vapor.
“If we just say, ‘do you use an e-cigarette?’ Many youth will say, ‘no I don’t use an e-cigarette,’” said Dr. Glynn. “What we won’t have is the good information we need about who is using, how long have they been using and so on if we don’t use the correct terminology.”
Cynthia Cabrera meanwhile said the industry offers the options for their target consumer- current adult smokers.
“People are able to customize these products with the flavors, the type of hardware that they want and they’re creating a really great experience that’s unique for them and that’s driving the market. The demographic for this product is current adult smokers,” said Cabrera.
Dr. Glynn and The American Cancer Society said they need more data regarding possible health effects of these vapor products. One recent study suggests electronic cigarettes may cause or worse respiratory diseases in kids.