New research on e-cigarettes shows they might not be the best alternative to traditional tobacco products.
While some use e-cigs to kick their nicotine habit, a local child psychiatrist suggests teen use of the device only increases use of other tobacco products.
Dr. Vivek Anand of the Brody School of Medicine surveyed 3,000 public high schoolers about e-cigs. He found that many teens in eastern North Carolina have no idea what's in these devices.
"There's actually a concoction of multiple chemicals in there and a lot of them are either known carcinogens or irritants," says Dr. Anand. "Or some are unknowns. We don't even know how they're going to affect us."
Brad Jones, co-owner of the SmokeSmart in Winterville, says he promotes e-cigs to those who want to quit smoking cigarettes.
"We would never recommend anybody started out of the blue," says Jones. "But if you are trying to quit cigarettes, and you can't just lay them down cold turkey, this is a good way to kind of serve as a gradual step down."
Dr. Anand's research also showed teens are starting to use e-cigs at a younger age. While the average age of those surveyed was 16 years old, more than 15% said they had at least tried e-cigarettes. Dr. Anand says 60% of those surveyed thought e-cigs were completely safe.