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Teenagers are always first in line when it comes to finding new fads, so it’s no surprise they’ve discovered a new way to smoke electronic cigarettes. “Dripping” is a way of creating dense clouds of vapor. Teens like it for the fun visual effect it produces and many said it also provides a more flavorful experience.

When you inhale a regular electronic cigarette, vapor is created as the e-cigarette liquid is pulled through a heated coil for you to then “smoke.” Dripping, on the other hand, entails dropping the e-liquid onto the hot coil directly. This creates a thicker cloud of vapor for the user to then inhale.

Studies done by Pediatrics has recently revealed that at least a quarter of teens who use e-cigarettes have tried this new technique, but the potential health risks of dripping are still unknown. Given that 1 in 4 high school e-cigarette users in the Pediatrics study report dripping, future safety studies should focus on the toxicities of hot vapors produced by exposure of e-liquids to high temperatures, as with dripping. There is also a critical need for regulatory efforts that consider restrictions on the e-cigarette device so it cannot be easily manipulated for behaviors such as dripping.

Finally there is an urgent need for prevention programs that educate youth about the potential dangers of these alternative e-cigarette uses.

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