By LAUREN FORCELLA
Dear Straight Talk: My friend uses an e-cigarette when we go for coffee or to parties. Lots of kids smoke cigarettes at parties, but she says her parents would flip out if she was a smoker. She says she doesn’t want her clothes or car to smell and that e-cigs are not very addicting. Lately I’ve been taking puffs with her and sort of crave it. Is it really less addicting? Everyone says something different. — Jill, Santa Rosa
Katelyn, 18, Huntington Beach: Just because the product is vaporized it’s still nicotine and will still cause addiction and other problems. Because you are craving it, don’t smoke it. Ask her to put it away if necessary.
Molly, 21, Berkeley: E-cigarettes use nicotine — so, yes, they are addicting! They don’t have most of the nasty additives found in regular cigarettes, so while they might be better than regular cigarettes, they are still very unhealthy! Many young people are smokers. Even more smoke at parties. But be warned, it’s a slippery slope. Most regular smokers started with just one or two at a party. As a former smoker, You DON’T want to start! It’s been ages since my last cigarette and I still want to smoke like the day I quit! It’s not only physically addicting, it’s also psychological. Your brain constantly tries to talk you into smoking. Don’t start or you’re signing up for a lifelong battle!
Treyvon, 20, Yorba Linda: E-cigarettes are just as addicting as normal cigarettes — even more so depending on the nicotine dosage. Any form of tobacco, like hookah or “spliffs” (half pot, half tobacco) is addictive.
Breele, 19, Dana Point: I have two friends who were pack-a-day smokers. It was becoming difficult to resist joining them. They switched to e-cigs and quit regular cigarettes cold turkey. None of us has touched a real cigarette in three months. Just smoking flavored liquid nicotine cuts out over three hundred chemicals found in real cigarettes and eliminates second-hand smoke. They are definitely addicting, though — it’s nicotine!
Carlos, 18, Fairfax, Va.: A couple of friends own e-cigarettes. They tend to be less addicting because of their reduced nicotine (readers: this is false). The bottom line with smoking is YOU have to control it. My friends and I sometimes go out to smoke hookah, but we smoke the ones with names like blueberry, cookies and cream, mango, etc., which have little nicotine in them (readers: another falsehood; hookah is tobacco!). On poker nights, my guy friends smoke cigars. Sometimes I decline because I’ve smoked enough that month. If you’re craving to smoke, STOP!
Justin, 26, Redding: Some friends use e-cigs as a cigarette alternative or as a smoking-cessation aid. None have successfully only used the e-cig or quit smoking. Vapor is less harmful than smoke, however, inhaling anything other than air is not a healthy choice.
Dear Jill: I’m glad you wrote because your friend — and much of the population — think electric cigarettes are innocent flavored fun. What is everyone smoking? Answer: liquid nicotine — processed straight from tobacco. The same nicotine that hooked your parents. You’re being duped/doped on purpose with fruit and bubble gum flavors and savvy advertising by cartoon characters and celebrities. There are no restrictions on e-cigarette marketing — or shame, apparently — and, once again, children and teens are being targeted for a lifetime of addiction and disability. We are the only species that takes a highly poisonous and addictive substance and feeds it to our young. Lemmings have nothing on us. Please, Jill, prevent me from going crazy by saying no to e-cigarettes and all forms of nicotine. — Lauren
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