Health officials in Tennessee are warning people about the “variety of dangers” potentially linked to e-cigarettes and caution they are not approved for helping smokers quit.
The Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) issued an update to its current public advisory on the use of e-cigarettes, saying the long term research on the health impacts of vaping “remain unclear and are concerning.” The update focuses on the potential harms of nicotine liquid, exposure to exhaled vapor and use of the devices by the nation’s youth. The report commends residents who are using the new year to commit to quitting smoking, but urge caution when turning to e-cigarettes for help, reports WKRN.
The public advisory relies heavily on recent statements from the surgeon general and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that claim e-cigarette use, particularly among youth, is a major public health threat.
“We recognize and applaud the many Tennesseans who have made resolutions to be healthier in 2017, particularly those who are battling a dependence on nicotine,” TDH Commissioner John Dreyzehner said in a statement Monday. “Both current and potential users of all electronic nicotine delivery systems should be aware e-cigarettes are not approved as smoking cessation devices by the FDA or CDC, and their use may create a variety of dangers.”
The public advisory warns that liquid nicotine can be poisonous and even fatal when ingested. It also focuses on the risk of exploding e-cigarette batteries and the threat of vaping among youth leading to lifelong tobacco addictions.
While a CDC report from early December showed a large spike in vaping among high school seniors between 2011 and 2015, the federal Monitoring the Future survey released a week later showed a three percent drop in youth vaping in 2016. Both reports also showed reductions in the smoking rate of high school and middle school students.
Many health experts took issue with the surgeon general and CDC report, criticizing government officials for ignoring the positive impact vaping has on current smokers and the youth smoking rate.
“The CDC is using a fear-based outreach effort on e-cigarettes,” Dr. Edward Anselm, senior fellow at the R Street Institute, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “The risk to young people is overstated. The recent surgeon generals report had little to say about actual harm to young people. Public perception of the harm and risk of e-cigarettes is being shaped by this disinformation and many people now believe that e-cigarettes are as harmful as combustion cigarettes.”
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