PUBLIC HEALTH ANNOUNCEMENT
Vaping or Using E-Cigarettes is not harmless!
Since 2011 the Surgeon General reports a 900% increase in E-cigarette use among US youth, a figure that is growing as more young people use E-cigarettes. “Vaping” or using E-Cigs have become the most commonly used form among our middle and high school level students.
Electronic cigarettes are devices that create an inhalable nicotine vapor by heating a liquid nicotine solution. When the user inhales on the end of the device, s/he sucks the nicotine through a heated element which vaporizes the liquid into an inhalable form. According to the Surgeon General, the aerosol inhaled is not harmless water vapor but rather a combination of nicotine, benzene and heavy metals. (www.parentingnh.com)
At present there are over 450 different types of these E-Cigarette devices available in local stores and online. They resemble everything from a traditional cigarette or an asthma inhaler, to a computer memory stick. Over 4,000 different flavorings are available in categories ranging from fruits, vegetables and desserts to tobacco flavoring. The vast majority of these flavorings while not smelling like tobacco, contain high levels of nicotine. In fact, one pod of a flavoring of approximately 200 inhalations can equal a full pack of cigarettes. (The argument only the tobacco flavors contain nicotine and the others do not, is NOT true.)
New Hampshire was one of the first states to prohibit the sale of E-Cigarettes to minors under the age of 18. The possession and the use of E-Cigarettes is prohibited on school grounds however this isn’t the problem. The problem (and challenge) that we’re facing is that many parents and young people view E-Cigarettes as a safer, better alternative to smoking. They are not! The dangers of nicotine and nicotine addiction have been well documented. However at present the marketing and manufacture of E-Cigarettes (sold in many forms under a variety of names) is unregulated and the growing use of these products among our young people is a public health emergency that requires our attention.
Our goal is to raise people’s awareness of this growing problem. To learn more visit www.breathnh.org
Note: E-Cigarettes are an estimated $3.5 billion dollar business in the US. In 2014 E-Cigarette manufacturers spent $125 million dollars advertising their products - much of this directed to attract the attention of young people.