A Healthier U is sponsored by Univera Healthcare.
Richard Vienne, D.O., Univera Healthcare vice president and chief medical officer, recently provided easy to understand information about e-cigarettes.
“E-cigarettes can look like regular cigarettes, or like everyday items such as highlighters, USB sticks, or pens,” said Dr. Vienne. “Because of this, they can hide in plain sight in a teen’s bedroom or backpack.”
E-cigarettes are battery-operated products that turn their contents into a vapor that is inhaled. While e-cigarettes may have sweet candy-like flavors, they also contain addictive, cancer-causing chemicals such as nicotine that can affect the heart, hormones, the gastrointestinal system, and can cause high blood pressure. Some e-cigarette cartridges have higher levels of nicotine than an entire pack of cigarettes.
“Many people think e-cigarettes are safer than cigarettes or are a great way to transition away from traditional cigarettes,” said Dr. Vienne. “Unfortunately, they are just swapping out one dangerous addiction for another.”
E-cigarettes are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a method for quitting smoking. The agency advises people who smoke to use only FDA-approved methods including nicotine gum and patches.
- In New York state, e-cigarette use among youth skyrocketed by more than 160 percent between 2014 and 2018.
- In 2018, more than 1 in 4 New York high school students reported they had used an e-cigarette.
With e-cigarettes, users are breathing chemicals into their lungs, and they are doing it with some intensity. If they start when they are young, users are likely be doing it for a long period of time.
“We do know that users can develop chronic cough, bronchitis and wheezing, but we don’t yet know all the long-term effects,” cautioned Dr. Vienne.
Univera Healthcare has a new educational poster, “E-Cigarettes: What You Need to Know About Vaping.” It highlights findings from various surveys and experts and is available free to download at https://tinyurl.com/y5xv8b59 .