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E-cigarettes (aka: Vaping)

Are e-cigarettes a high-tech way to hook a new generation on a bad nicotine habit?

Nobody knows yet – and that's a problem. The research is still out on this booming industry that is on track to outsell tobacco products within a decade. Here's one proof: The number of teens and tweens using these products doubled between 2011 and 2012.

All e-cigarettes work basically the same way. Inside, there's a battery, a heating element, and a cartridge that holds nicotine and other liquids and flavorings. Using an e-cigarette is known as "vaping."And yes, the nicotine inside the cartridges is addictive. When you stop using it, you can get withdrawal symptoms such as feeling irritable, depressed, restless and anxious. It may also harm your arteries over time.

Although e-cigarettes don't burn and tests show the levels of dangerous chemicals they give off are a fraction of what you'd get from a real cigarette, they are potentially damaging to your health. On top of that, there's not enough known about their long-term risks or the effects of second-hand exposure.

Always remember that nicotine is addictive and can be a gateway to other drugs.

Don't believe the hype that e-cigarettes are safe. They are not a harmless alternative to smoking.

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