A new online resource has been published to help parents understand the risks and benefits of electronic cigarettes and vaping products and hopefully clear up the “inconsistent, inaccurate and confusing” information. Entitled “Expert Views: E-Cigarettes,” it has been written by experts and launched by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse. The site has three main categories: About E-Cigarettes, Recreational Vaping and Tobacco Replacement, with subcategories to help users learn more.
The “About E-Cigarettes” category describes what e-cigarettes are and what parents should know about them, 10 surprising facts about e-cigarettes and weighing the pros and cons. The one fact that the article stresses is that these devices contain “highly concentrated nicotine along with other chemicals,” which pose health risks. “The younger a person is when they try nicotine, the greater the risk of addiction.” “Although it’s generally agreed that these products are less harmful than smoked cigarettes, there is no evidence that they are in fact, safe.” They aren’t a proven method of reducing or quitting smoking either. And teens who never intended to smoke a traditional cigarette, may begin using cigarettes after using e-cigarettes.
The Recreational Vaping page defines vaping, shows the different vaping devices, and lets parents know vaping goes beyond the use of nicotine. Original e-cigarettes looked like cigarettes, but today’s models can be customized. First generation devices were less expensive, looked like cigarettes and many on the market were disposable. Second-generation devices come in various sizes. These devices are not shaped like a cigarette, but are still slim. They can be disposable or rechargeable, and can be refilled with e-juice/e-liquid. Third-generation devices are larger, customized to the user, contain a larger tank for holding e-liquid and can “deliver more nicotine than earlier generations.” Since they burn at a higher temperature, they produce a bigger cloud of vapor. One troubling trend parents need to be aware of is vaping devices are being used for more than just e-liquids. The vaporized drugs do not produce the “telltale smells” and users can go undetected.
Finally, can using e-cigarettes help you quit smoking? There is agreement that the devices are “less harmful than smoked cigarettes…when used as a complete replacement,” but not when they are used to cut down or quit smoking. Several studies found “that people who use e-cigarettes may be less likely to successfully quit smoking.” Although some e-liquids are nicotine-free, users are still inhaling toxic chemicals and aerosols which are not safe. Studies are still ongoing with respect to the chemicals, but “the evidence to date suggest that e-cigarettes and other vaping devices certainly are not risk free.”
Currently, there is limited research in using e-cigarette to quit smoking and researchers suggest you talk to your doctor about your quit options. You can also call the national 1-800-QUIT-NOW helpline (1-800-784-8669) for support. Here in Florida you can go to the Tobacco Free Florida website by clicking on the blue link, or call 1-877-U-CAN-NOW (1-877-822-6669). It should be noted: “E-cigarettes have not been approved by the FDA for smoking cessation.”
Click HERE for Expert Views: E-Cigarettes