By JULIANNA BERROA, age 12

Research shows that electronic cigarettes contain toxic chemicals, some of which could make it harder for users fight off bacterial infections. PHOTO: Lindsay Fox/Flickr
Research shows that electronic cigarettes contain toxic chemicals, some of which could make it harder for users fight off bacterial infections. PHOTO: Lindsay Fox/Flickr

An electronic cigarette looks like a conventional cigarette with an LED light at the end that lights up when the smoker takes a puff. A processor heats up a liquid usually containing nicotine, turning it into vapor that the user inhales, or “vapes.”

Some studies suggest that e-cigarettes are safer than tobacco cigarettes. Craig Youngblood the president of an e-cigarette company stated, “They are electronic, alternative smoking devices that simulate the sensation of smoking. They do not expose the user, or others close by, to harmful levels of cancer-causing agents and other dangerous chemicals normally associated with traditional tobacco products.” Still, more recent research shows that they contain toxic chemicals, some of which could make it harder for users to fight off bacterial infections.

E-cigarettes are also poorly regulated. “Because these e-cigarette products haven’t been reviewed by the agency, their labeling has to be reviewed, their intended use has to be reviewed, and all of their ingredients and components have to be reviewed,” says FDA spokesperson Rita Chapelle.

While some states outlaw the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, there are currently no similar federal laws. The uncontrolled sale of this product makes it easier for kids and teens to start vaping and get addicted nicotine. Pediatrician and lung specialist Michael Light, PhD told Web MD, “It will be easy for kids to get the product. It could be a way to get kids into the nicotine habit to get them to smoke.”