E-cigarettes popularity at all-time high but health concerns remain

OXFORD, MS (WMC) - E-cigarettes and other alternatives to smoking are at an all-time high.

Officials in Oxford said they're seeing more teenagers walking around with vapes and e-cigarettes.

While advocates said e-cigarettes are a safer option to regular cigarettes, health officials said studies are proving that these products are more similar to cigarettes than you may think.

Dr. Mark Castellaw said research is disproving the concept that e-cigarettes and vapes aren't as dangerous as cigarettes.

"It's a fad, it's a trend. Look back in the 50s. It was a trend and fad to smoke, and look where that got everybody," Castellaw said. "Some studies have come out that the electronic metal coals in these devices, when they become heated, they release toxic chemicals and toxic metals, which can be very, very dangerous to your lungs."

Earlier this month, NBC News released an in-depth report, citing a study that found more cancer causing chemicals in the body of those who smoke fruity e-cigarette flavors, which are more popular with younger people, than those who are non-smokers.

"We are yet to know all of the side effects. And that's the other scary thing," Castellaw said.

Castellaw and Oxford Police Department are both encouraging parents to talk to their teens about the dangers of these popular new smoking devices.

"As a parent, we need to tell our children, you need to stay away from that. God made your lungs to take in air, and that's about it," Castellaw said.

The U.S. Surgeon General said on their website that more high school students today use e-cigarettes than regular cigarettes. The website said users risk exposing their respiratory system to potentially harmful chemicals.

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