Teens inhaling dangerous chemicals in e-cigarettes, new research says

ROANOKE, Va. – As the popularity of e-cigarettes continues to grow, a new warning comes from researchers: Teenagers who try vaping are ingesting many of the same chemicals that make traditional cigarettes so deadly. 

"There is nicotine in them, and that drives that to the brain, the part of the brain that can be very addictive," said Nancy Hans, executive director of the Prevention Council of Roanoke County.

Tests on teenagers show that those who smoke tobacco-based cigarettes have the highest levels of these chemicals in their bodies, but those who vape e-cigarettes also have higher levels of the cancer-causing chemicals than nonsmokers, the team at the University of California, San Francisco, found. Hans says it's important that parents recognize the risks of vaping for teens whose brains are still developing.

"Have the conversation around what is this, sit down and really look at what it does have in it," Hans said.

At WC Vapor in Roanoke, William Justice is singing the praises of e-cigarettes. 

"I was a pack-a-day smoker for 20 years," said Justice, owner of WC Vapor.

He quit smoking after he found vaping. He agrees that teens should not have access to e-cigarettes, but overall, he says the benefits outweigh the risks.

"The wide majority of people that come into the shop are either trying to quit smoking or find something that's at least a little less harmful," Justice said.

To learn more about the research, click here.