An addiction and adolescent behavior expert says physicians should ask teens about vaping habits during a checkup because they may be uninformed or misinformed about the risks of e-cigarettes.

During a checkup, physicians and nurses often ask about drinking habits, safe sex practice or cigarette use. Vaping is rarely mentioned.

This discussion is urgently needed with teen patients, who are either uninformed or misinformed about the dangers and risks associated with electronic cigarettes, says Nancy Campbell-Heider, PhD, a University at Buffalo addictions and high-risk adolescent behavior expert.

In the review, “Teen Use of Electronic Cigarettes,” published in the Journal of Addictions Nursing, Campbell-Heider calls on health care professionals to place this form of nicotine delivery on their radar when seeing young patients.

By screening early for at-risk behaviors, clinicians can stage interventions before vaping leads to the use of other tobacco products.

“Teens are ignorant of the risk of using e-cigarettes, so it has become their new drug of choice,” says Campbell-Heider, associate professor and chair of the Department of Family, Community and Health System Sciences in the UB School of Nursing.

“Vaping is a dangerous drug since you are inhaling nicotine, which is highly addictive and a gateway to other drugs and combustible cigarette use. This is not a safe alternative to smoking.”

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