Community

Local e-cigarette use sparks health concerns

DOUG ROGERS

Special to The Morning Star

Recently, I have noticed a significant increase in the use of electronic cigarettes in Vernon.

The common belief is they are safe and non-addictive when compared to traditional tobacco cigarettes.

Electronic cigarettes, often called e-cigarettes, are battery-operated devices designed to look like regular tobacco cigarettes. Like their conventional counterparts, electronic cigarettes contain nicotine.

Here’s how they work:

An atomizer heats a liquid containing nicotine, turning it into a vapor that can be inhaled and creating a vapor cloud that resembles cigarette smoke (Mayo Clinic, 2012).

In 2009, Health Canada advised Canadians not to purchase or use electronic smoking products, as these products may pose health risks and have not been fully evaluated for safety, quality and efficacy by Health Canada.

Manufacturers claim that electronic cigarettes are a safe alternative to conventional cigarettes. However, the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S. has questioned the safety of these products.

When the FDA analyzed samples of two popular brands, they found variable amounts of nicotine and traces of toxic chemicals, including known cancer-causing substances (carcinogens).

This prompted the FDA to issue a warning about potential health risks associated with electronic cigarettes.

Until more is known about the potential risks, the safe play is to say no to electronic cigarettes.

If you’re looking for help to stop smoking, please talk to a health professional about smoking cessation programs which are safe and effective.

Doug Rogers is the substance abuse prevention counsellor with the Vernon School District.

 

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