PEI

Doctor warns about vaping dangers, especially for youth

Dr. Natasha Johnson of the McMaster Children's Hospital says second-hand smoke from vaping and e-cigarettes can be harmful to youth.

Second-hand smoke from vaping can contain toxins that can be harmful to children, youth

Dr. Natasha Johnson says that even though there is a perception that vaping and e-cigarettes are safer than regular cigarettes, both release toxins, albeit different kinds. (Regis Duvignau /Reuters)

Dr. Natasha Johnson has a couple of stark messages about vaping — there is no evidence it helps adults stop smoking and it is harmful to children.

Dr. Johnson, of McMaster Children's Hospital, was in Charlottetown this week for a presentation on the dangers of vaping at the Canadian Paediatric Society annual conference. Directly inhaling smoke from e-cigarettes can be harmful, but so too can second-hand smoke, she said.

Harmful toxins

"The second-hand smoke from vaping can contain toxins that can be harmful to children and youth," Johnson said Friday on CBC News: Compass. 

"[The toxins] certainly can irritate any breathing trouble that exists. And, certainly, there may be exposure to heavy metals and other chemicals — the long-term effects of which are not known."

Johnson said that even though there is a perception that vaping and e-cigarettes are safer than regular cigarettes, both release toxins, albeit different kinds.

Can lead to tobacco use

As well, she said there is no evidence that vaping and e-cigarettes help people quit or reduce smoking regular cigarettes. In fact, with youth, she said e-cigarettes could actually lead to using tobacco products.

"In pediatrics, there is a worrisome trend where a number of young people who use e-cigarettes have not even used tobacco products. So, they're 'tobacco naive' adolescents who are experimenting with e-cigarettes," she said.

"And, that potentially opens a window for them to become addicted to nicotine."

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