"Aggressive steps" must be taken by parents, teachers, health providers and government officials to prevent children and teens from using electronic cigarettes, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said in an advisory issued Tuesday.
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For young people "nicotine is dangerous and it can have negative health effects," he told the Associated Press. "It can impact learning, attention and memory, and it can prime the youth brain for addiction."
The sale of e-cigarettes to those under 18 is illegal under federal law.
Parents, teachers and health professionals should educate themselves about e-cigarettes, explain the risks to children, and be a role model by not using tobacco products, Adams said.
The latest federal figures show that 3.6 million teens use e-cigarettes, which works out to 1 in 5 high school students and 1 in 20 middle school students, the AP reported.
Twice as many high school students used e-cigarettes this year compared to last year, according to separate survey results released Monday.
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