Smokers are turning to e-cigarettes to ease nicotine withdrawal while quitting, to vape in places where smoking is not allowed, and to avoid harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke. Young people are also trying these new devices, some to switch from smoking and others to see what it is all about.

In spite of increased use, we don’t yet know whether smokeless vapor is safe: in fact, any long-term health risks from using e-cigarettes and other “vaping” devices will likely not be known for many years. The Food and Drug Administration recently proposed new regulations for e-cigarettes that will require health warnings for e-cigarettes and limit sales to those over 18, however it did not limit flavorings or advertising of e-cigarettes.

In a recently issued Emerging Issues Brief researchers at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center (NCCC) looked at what is currently known about e-cigarettes and health. Dr. Susanne Tanski, MD, a co-author of the brief, is available to comment on e-cigarette use by children.

Tanski is an assistant professor of Pediatrics at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and a practicing pediatrician at the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. She is project director in the American Academy of Pediatrics Julius B. Richmond Center of Excellence, a national center of excellence funded by the Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute dedicated to protecting children from tobacco. She is also the chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Tobacco Consortium, a multidisciplinary research group, and co-chair of the Primary Prevention Workgroup for New Hampshire's Comprehensive Cancer Collaborative.

Working within the Cancer Risk Behaviors Group at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth, her current research endeavors focus on visual media influences on adolescent smoking and drinking, and communication between pediatric clinicians and parents regarding eliminating secondhand smoke exposure of children and helping parents promote healthy lifestyles for their children. She has specific research interest in how young people make choices regarding risk behaviors, such as alcohol and tobacco. She has expertise and interest in a broad range of parent education including obesity prevention and healthy use of media, and smoking cessation for parents and adolescents.

Dr. Tanski received her MD from the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. She completed her residency in pediatrics at Strong Memorial Hospital/University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, followed by a fellowship in General Pediatrics and Masters of Public Health degree at the University of Rochester. She worked for the American Academy of Pediatrics' Center for Child Health Research prior to joining the Dartmouth faculty in 2005