Local health experts are warning that e-cigarettes are not the harmless substitute for smoking that we may have been led to believe.
Kylee Jones, tobacco awareness coordinator, with Healthy Communities at Columbus Regional Health explains:
She said that the long-term health effects are not yet known, but the chemicals in the e-cigarettes cause several conditions.
For example, there are chemicals that leave residues behind in user’s lungs along with tiny medical particles.
She said that one of the more popular brands has as much nicotine in one pod as an entire pack of tobacco cigarettes. She said that the various flavors, along with the nicotine kick can be very attractive for teens. Even though they are not supposed to be able to purchase the products.
Because some models are about the size of a USB thumb drive, users can easily conceal them and use them in school. She said some students are even using them in classrooms, under the watchful eyes of teachers.
She said that e-cigarette use is up 78 percent among teens in recent surveys and have passed all other tobacco/nicotine related products in popularity among teens.
Although they are sometimes marketed as a healthy alternative to regular smoking, Jones said that they are not FDA approved as a smoking substitute.