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HomeLocal & Regional NewsOpinion: E-Cigarettes Remain a Concern for Public Health Department

Opinion: E-Cigarettes Remain a Concern for Public Health Department

Opinion: Lassen County Public Health Tobacco Use Reduction Program

Less harm does not mean harmless. E-cigarettes are promoted as a great way to continue smoking in No Smoking areas because you reduce the dangerous factors of secondhand smoke and nicotine.  In fact the many advocates of e-cigarettes and vaping prefer vapor when discussing the smoke emitted. It’s true you do produce less secondhand smoke and there is very little odor from the e-cigarette vapor.

With an e-cigarette you can control the nicotine content.  It’s also true you still produce secondhand smoke/vapor and you still are ingesting nicotine.  In fact, studies are not clear as to how dangerous the secondhand stream of smoke/vapor is and the ability for the user to control the nicotine often means you are ingesting more than you realize.

Control of the e-cigarette by the user is not as simple as one may believe. If you inhale too quickly or with a deep breath you are giving yourself a huge hit of nicotine. There is still so much to learn about the e-cigarette. E-cigarettes appeared on the market in 2003 in China and it took a few more years for the market to decide this was a cash cow. Science has not caught up with marketing. And, there still are zero FDA regulations on the e-cigarettes. Not all e-cigarettes contain nicotine. What is actually inside that e-cigarette varies by brand and flavors.

Another concern regarding the e-cigarette is the many ways in which this product can be utilized for other substances, especially illegal drugs.  It is not difficult to insert marijuana in the form of hash oil or even dried marijuana. Other drugs can be substituted too. The odor that is emitted from the smoke/vapor isn’t as strong as a regular marijuana cigarette.

The presence of secondhand smoke, tagged as ‘vapor’ so as not to alarm us, is a definite concern. Do we really want to share the air with e-cigarettes and vaping? Do you and your family want to share a restaurant meal or a movie or the line at the grocery store with someone who is smoking an electronic cigarette or vaping in the same space as you?

We trust the tobacco companies to sell us safe e-cigarettes. Remember how well that worked with traditional cigarettes? And then there is the illegal drug factor. Even when you read or hear or understand that an e-cigarette or a vape pen is entirely safe, this isn’t the truth. We just don’t have enough facts.

Many cities and counties in California have banned the use of all vaping devices in all areas where smoking is banned. Our City of Susanville has been proactive in so doing. City Ordinance #14-0999 bans the use of vaping devices, including e-cigarettes, in all areas where smoking is banned.

For the health and safety of all of us please support and respect the No Smoking areas as No E-Cigs/No Vaping as well.

Here are some facts that we do know:

Some users of e-cigarettes complain of cotton mouth, scratchy throat and coughing. Others may not have these symptoms. Existing medical research indicates the absorption of nicotine from e-cigarettes happens in the lining inside the mouth or the upper airways. This is why some e-cigarette users have problems.

Our lungs are affected. Two main ingredients in e-cig liquid are propylene glycol and glycerin, both safe in other manufactured items. Candy bars are safe to eat but do you really want to inhale one? If something is safe as a food, it’s not considered harmful, but we have no data to show what happens when you inhale it. Our lungs were not made to inhale foreign substances.

Inhaling an e-cigarette means the heart and blood pressure take issue with the nicotine kick which acts as a stimulant and prompts an adrenaline rush in the body. It’s possible the kick may not be as strong as that of a traditional cigarette but it’s still causing the heart and blood pressure to react. Nicotine affects the brain as it releases a feeling of pleasure which then tells us we want more.  Nicotine is highly addictive.

Lassen County Public Health Tobacco Use Reduction Program has free No E-Cigs/No Vaping cardstock signs available upon request.  257-9600.

Jeremy Couso
Jeremy Couso Publisher/Editor
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