PROTECTING UTAH’S YOUTH FROM ALL NICOTINE-CONTAINING PRODUCTS, INCLUDING E-CIGARETTES, IS IMPORTANT
The human brain is not fully developed until the age of 25, and some of the most critical developments happen during teenage years. Use of any addictive substance during this time can alter how the brain develops. Nicotine, found in traditional tobacco products like cigarettes and e-cigarettes or vapes, affects teens more than it does adults. Using nicotine as a teenager can lead to:
- nicotine addiction
- use of other addictive substances
- reduced impulse control
- deficits in attention and cognition
- mood disorders
Because a teen’s brain is still developing, nicotine can rewire pathways, essentially “hardwiring” the brain for addiction. In Utah, we have seen declines in the use of conventional cigarettes, hookahs, cigars, chew and snus, but an increase e-cigarette or vape use.
- In 2015, 1 in 10 Utah students in grades eight, 10 and 12 reported using an e-cigarette or vape product in the past 30 days.
- In 2015, 1 in 4 Utah students in grades eight, 10 and 12 reported trying an e-cigarette or vape product.
- Use of e-cigarettes nearly doubled, from 5.8% in 2013 to 10.5% in 2015.
Nicotine is not the only substance that can affect a teen’s brain development. For information about alcohol’s effects on the developing brain, visit www.parentsempowered.org.