Smoking rates among teens have been falling for several years in Tennessee and around the nation. The concern over teen smoking was replaced by increased drug use by teens. While that is certainly still a concern, more dangerous products have entered the landscape, and their use is spreading rapidly. The substance used is nicotine in a different form.

Commonly known as e-cigarettes, electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) are being widely used among teens in middle school and high school. They are battery-operated devices that deliver nicotine via vapor or steam instead of smoke, as is the method of cigarettes. The ENDS come in many shapes and sizes. The smallest of these are JUULs, which are about the same size as a thumb drive and are easily concealable because they are small and give off little or no steam or vapor.

Teens generally believe that using ENDS is not dangerous. Nicotine is highly addictive regardless of the delivery method, and nicotine is the addictive ingredient in cigarettes. One of the issues with the ENDS is that the flavors are attractive to kids. They come in flavors such as bubble gum, chocolate and many others. According to a physician at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, the liquid found in ENDS can damage lung tissue when inhaled, even if the liquid does not contain nicotine.

It is believed that the use of e-cigarettes could lead to the use of other nicotine or tobacco products. In addition, the batteries and chemicals used in e-cigarettes could cause serious health complications if swallowed. If complications or illness arise as a result of the use of one of these dangerous products, a Tennessee personal injury attorney may be able to advise a client as to what legal options may be available.