Pros, cons of e-cigarettes 

Q: My 16-year-old daughter is vaping. Have you heard of this? How can I persuade her it’s not a good idea? — Gretchen F., Lexington, Ky.

A: We confess, we had to do some research on this one! But after smoking out the info, we hope we can help you persuade your teen that using electronic cigarettes can have consequences.

For those of you who need a quick course on vaping: It’s a hipster version of smoking tobacco. Retail vaporiums sell flavored vapor cartridges — with or without nicotine. Placed in high-tech gadgets with names like EGO and iTaste, the cartridges are battery-activated to produce a smokeless cloud when you inhale.

The vaping liquids are sometimes made with propylene glycol (other bases are used, but not all companies say what they are). While the Food and Drug Administration says propylene glycol generally is safe in personal-care products and plastics, animal research indicates that inhaling the chemical may affect fertility and the health of offspring. You also can tell your daughter that one study found five minutes of vaping lowers lung function as much as smoking a conventional cigarette.

In its favor, this cloud of vapor doesn’t contain the 60 known carcinogens found in tobacco smoke, and it may be a way to kick tobacco (it works for some folks). But as a general rule, putting anything besides relatively clean air into your lungs can lead to a roster of complications, depending on what’s inhaled.

If your daughter wants to feel hip, suggest nonpermanent, vegetable-based hair color (try red! blue!). You can live with that, and so can she, right? And for stress relief, suggest joining an after-school sports program or doing yoga together. She’ll learn how important it is to inhale without extra chemicals in every breath — and appreciate how much you want to help.

Dr. Mehmet Oz is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Dr. Michael Roizen is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. For more information go to

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