Smoldering Facts on E-Cigarettes
Smokers who have resolved to quit for the new year are cautioned to avoid using e-cigarettes to wean themselves off of tobacco products, according to research issued today by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.
Electronic cigarettes are battery-operated products that turn their contents into a vapor that is inhaled. They are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and can contain liquid nicotine, flavoring and potentially harmful chemicals.
“The risks associated with inhaling these vapors are largely unknown,” said Matthew Bartels, M.D., medical director of health care improvement at Excellus BCBS. “Because e-cigarettes aren’t held to the FDA's rigorous review standards, there’s no way to verify the safety of these devices."
If you’re planning to quit smoking in the new year, Bartels recommends only FDA-approved smoking cessation methods:
- Patches, gum and lozenges
- Prescription medications, including nicotine inhalers prescribed by a health care provider
- Nasal sprays
Smokers can receive free resources and assistance to help quit by calling the New York State Smokers’ Quitline at 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487).
In New York state, high school students and young adults ages 18 to 24 are almost twice as likely to use e-cigarettes than adults ages 25 and older, according to an Excellus BCBS infographic, “Smoldering Facts on E-Cigarettes.”
According to the infographic, 8.7 percent of eighth graders, 16.2 percent of tenth graders and 17.1 percent of twelfth graders nationally admitted using e-cigarettes in the past month.
“Such flavors as bubble-gum, cotton candy, and tutti-frutti could appeal to youths," said Bartels. "The pleasing flavors, coupled with the stimulating effect of liquid nicotine, make for a dangerous combination that could potentially lead to nicotine addiction.”
“This should be enough to make us question the impact e-cigarettes can have on the health of our children and others who may believe that e-cigarettes are a safe alternative to using tobacco products,” he added.