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U.S. Surgeon General Labels E-Cigarettes as Unsafe

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Electronic cigarettes continue to come under scrutiny from federal government, especially when it comes to youth use.

In a new report released Thursday, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy acknowledged a need for more research into the health effects of "vaping," but said e-cigarettes aren't harmless and too many teens are using them, according to The Associated Press.

"My concern is e-cigarettes have the potential to create a whole new generation of kids who are addicted to nicotine," Murthy told the AP. "If that leads to the use of other tobacco-related products, then we are going to be moving backward instead of forward."

Federal figures show that last year, 16 percent of high school students reported at least some use of e-cigarettes — even some who say they've never smoked a conventional cigarette. While not all contain nicotine, Murthy's report says e-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco-related product among youth, the news outlet reported.

Nicotine is bad for a developing brain no matter how it's exposed, Murthy said.

"Your kids are not an experiment," he said in a public service announcement being released with the report.

The Food and Drug Administration deeming rule, which extended its regulatory authority to other tobacco products including e-cigarettes and cigars, prohibited the sale of the products to anyone under 18. Many e-cigarette manufacturers already had self-imposed ban to youth sales in place before the deeming rule when into effect on Aug. 8.

Murthy's report calls on parents and health workers to make concerns about e-cigarettes clear to young people. He said local officials should take action, too, such as including e-cigarettes in indoor smoke-free policies, according to the AP.

To read the surgeon general's full report, click here.

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