November 4, 2019

The dangers of e-cigarettes

Tobacco continues to be the number one preventable cause of death in the United States. Smoking tobacco delivers over 7,000 chemicals into your body. Some of the chemicals from tobacco that are absorbed cause cancer. What some individuals don’t know is that electronic cigarettes, that deliver nicotine, are a method for consuming tobacco.

What is nicotine?
Nicotine is a tobacco-derived product. Nicotine is highly addictive. The use of nicotine can harm brain development in teens and young adults. The brain continues to develop into the early to mid-20s.

What are electronic cigarettes?
Electronic cigarettes are a device to deliver nicotine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states, “E-cigarettes are sometimes called “e-cigs,” “vapes,” “e-hookahs,” “vape pens,” and “electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).” Some e-cigarettes look like regular cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. Some look like USB flash drives, pens, and other everyday items.” The electronic device heats a liquid and creates an aerosol that is inhaled into the body.

Why are electronic cigarettes dangerous?
E-cigarettes can contain other harmful ingredients besides nicotine. You may have heard of e-cigarettes recently in the news and their link to the lung injury outbreak. As of October 15, 2019, 1,479 lung injury cases have been reported to CDC. There have been 33 deaths in 24 states. Lung injuries linked to e-cigarette use are ­­­reported to the person’s local health department in Ohio. CDC and health departments across the United States continue to study these cases. The CDC warns that the use of e-cigarettes is unsafe for all a­­ges.

 Are electronic cigarettes a problem for our youth?
The CDC published that nearly one out of every five high school students reported that they used an electronic cigarette in the past 30 days (2018). When surveyed, most e-cigarette users report that they believe that these devices are safe. This is concerning because nicotine is never safe for youth. It is estimated that one out of every 13 Americans aged 17 years or younger will die early from a tobacco-related illness. Prevention measures through education are key for preventing tobacco use. Youth cessation for current users is important to reduce long term effects of continued use.

What are the alternatives to using electronic cigarettes?
Positive coping strategies are the best choice instead of using a tobacco product. Positive coping strategies include taking a walk or picking a healthy habit. Persons can pick something that is good for them instead of using tobacco. A safe and healthy alternative is to eat celery or carrot sticks instead of using a tobacco product.

For more information about the Tobacco Cessation Counseling Program at Clermont County Public Health, contact us at 513-735-8400 or click here.