2013-10-12 16:52:09 - WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 12, 2013): Major media outlets are beginning to report how e-cigarettes are being used to "smoke" marijuana, both privately and in public places, including a TV expose’ of a person who smoked on the train all the way from New York to Baltimore in close proximity to other passengers who unknowingly shared in the hemp-filled vapor emitted by the user.
Many health and law enforcement officials are concerned because of the growing use of e-cigarettes by children. The Center for Disease Control [CDC] reports that the percentage of middle and high school students who smoke e-cigarettes more than doubled [4.7% to 10%] from 2011 to 2012.
As NBC-TV reported: "I care a lot about it," said Detective Lt. Kevin Smith, who heads the Narcotics Unit for the Nassau County Police Department. "For young people, marijuana is a gateway. The next thing you know they’re doing acid, molly, even heroin. I don’t like it that people are giving it a pass."
Marianne Chai, a Manhattan-based addiction psychologist, said e-cigarettes make it harder for parents to look for the old signs that
their teens are using drugs. "If you're a parent looking out for your child, you're probably a little nervous about this area," Chai said. "One sign parents used to have about illicit use going on is avoidance of hugging or closeness. This makes it a lot harder to detect."
Interestingly, as the Chicago Tribune points out in "HOW E-CIGARETTES LEAD TO HEROIN": "But [NBC] got scooped on this story by anti-smoking activist John Banzhaf, who more than three years ago added facilitation of cannabis consumption to his list of reasons for fearing and loathing e-cigarettes."
Indeed, it was Banzhaf's complaint about companies replacing nicotine-based cartridges sold for use in e-cigarettes with cartridges containing a cannabis-based solution which helped trigger the Food and Drug Administration [FDA] to assert regulatory jurisdiction over e-cigarettes.
“E-cigarettes are like the old candy cigarettes on steroids. Kids can look cool as if they are smoking real cigarettes while also getting a kick from the highly addictive drug nicotine; an addiction likely to lead them to smoke tobacco as they get older. Now they can also use it to mask their use of marijuana since e-cigarettes don’t give off the telltale smell of marijuana, making it harder for parents or teachers to detect,” says Banzhaf.
E-cigarettes are also making it possible for millions of adults as well as teens who would have to quit smoking cigarettes when smoking was banned in their workplaces to continue the deadly habit, using e-cigarettes when they can’t smoke the real thing, Banzhaf says.
In the meantime, those in the vicinity are being exposed to a respiratory irritant of the type found in antifreeze, and then either the highly addictive drug nicotine or mood-distorting marijuana.
JOHN F. BANZHAF III, B.S.E.E., J.D., Sc.D.
Professor of Public Interest Law
George Washington University Law School,
FAMRI Dr. William Cahan Distinguished Professor,
Fellow, World Technology Network,
Founder, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)
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