The Dangers of E-Cigarettes and Vaping

Man blowing smoke from a vape pen
Image Source: Rubén Bagüés/Unsplash

As of November 20, 2019, 2,290 cases of e-cigarette or vaping product use associated lung injury (EVALI) have been reported to CDC from 49 states. CDC continues to work closely with FDA, states, public health partners, and clinicians on this investigation. While the CDC is still looking into other chemicals of concern to EVALI, CDC recommends that people should not use THC-containing e-cigarette or vaping products, particularly from informal sources like friends, or family, or in-person or online dealers. While this investigation is ongoing, vitamin E acetate should not be added to e-cigarette or vaping products.

What are E-Cigarettes/Vaping products?

  • E-cigarettes work by heating a liquid to produce an aerosol that users inhale into their lungs.
  • The liquid can contain: nicotine, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabinoid (CBD) oils, and other substances and additives. THC is the psychoactive mind-altering compound of marijuana that produces the “high”.
  • E-cigarettes are not safe for youth, young adults, pregnant women, or adults who do not currently use tobacco products.
  • While e-cigarettes have the potential to benefit some people and harm others, scientists still have a lot to learn about whether e-cigarettes are effective for quitting smoking. 1

What is the CDC Recommending?2

  • Do not use THC-containing e-cigarette or vaping products.
  • Do not modify or add any substances to e-cigarette or vaping products that are not intended by the manufacturer, including products purchased through retail establishments.
  • Adults using e-cigarettes to quit smoking should not go back to smoking; they should weigh all risks and benefits and consider utilizing FDA-approved nicotine replacement therapies
  • Adults who continue to use an e-cigarette or vaping product, should carefully monitor themselves for symptoms and see a healthcare provider immediately if they develop symptoms like those reported in this outbreak.

Tria Health and Tobacco Cessation

For employers that offer Tria Health’s Tobacco Cessation Program, Tria provides free confidential counseling with a clinical pharmacist. If you ready to quit smoking, Tria Health’s pharmacist will assist you in managing your medications and finding a treatment plan that works for you.

Have any questions?

Contact the Tria Health Help Desk: 1.888.799.8742

Sources:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/index.htm
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/severe-lung-disease.html

World No Tobacco Day – May 31st

Every year, on 31 May, the World Health Organization (WHO) and global partners celebrate World No Tobacco Day (WNTD). The annual campaign is an opportunity to raise awareness on the harmful and deadly effects of tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure, and to discourage the use of tobacco in any form.1 This year’s focus for World No Tobacco Day is “Tobacco and Lung Health”. The campaign will increase awareness on the negative impact that tobacco has on people’s lung health, from cancer to chronic respiratory disease and the fundamental role lungs play for the health and well-being of all people.

How Tobacco Affects People’s Lung Health

There are multiple ways in which tobacco can impact an individual’s lung health, including:

  • Lung Cancer: Tobacco smoke is a toxic mix of more than 7,000 chemicals. Many are poisons. At least 70 are known to cause cancer in people or animals.2
  • Chronic Respiratory Disease: Tobacco smoking is the leading cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a condition where the build-up of pus-filled mucus in the lungs results in a painful cough and agonising breathing difficulties.1
  • Life-Course: If you smoke or are exposed to secondhand smoke when you’re pregnant, your baby is exposed to harmful chemicals too. This may lead to many serious health problems, including: Miscarriage, premature birth (born not fully developed), lower birth weight than expected (possibly meaning a less healthy baby), sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and learning problems and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).3
  • Tuberculosis: Tuberculosis (TB) damages the lungs and reduces lung function, which is further exacerbated by tobacco smoking. About one quarter of the world’s population has latent TB, placing them at risk of developing the active disease.1

What Changes Can Be Made?

The WHO encourages governments worldwide to protect people from the harms of tobacco. Their recommendations include:

  • The creation of smoke-free public places, workplaces, and public transportation
  • Help for people who choose to quit tobacco, such as toll-free quit lines
  • Implementation of plain packaging and/or prominent and graphic health warnings on tobacco packaging
  • Launching effective anti-tobacco mass media campaigns that educate the public about the harms of tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure
  • Enforcement of comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship
  • Increased taxes on tobacco products to make them less affordable

Do e-cigarettes or vapes have tobacco?

They are not burned tobacco products, but they do pose health risks. Know the risks.

Tria Health and Tobacco Cessation

For employers that offer Tria Health’s Tobacco Cessation Program, Tria provides free confidential counseling with a clinical pharmacist. If you ready to quit smoking, Tria Health’s pharmacist will assist you in managing your medications and finding a treatment plan that works for you.

Have any questions?

Contact the Tria Health Help Desk: 1.888.799.8742

Sources:

  1. https://www.who.int/news-room/events/detail/2019/05/31/default-calendar/world-no-tobacco-day
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/lung/basic_info/risk_factors.htm
  3. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/tobacco/Pages/Dangers-of-Secondhand-Smoke.aspx

The Great American Smokeout

Pile of used cigarettes
Image Source: Paweł Czerwiński/Unsplash

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, accounting for 29% of all cancer deaths. Not only does smoking cause cancer, it can damage nearly every organ in the body, including the lungs, heart, blood vessels, reproductive organs, mouth, skin, eyes, and bones.1 Tomorrow is The American Cancer Society’s 43rd annual Great American Smokeout® (GASO). GASO is the perfect opportunity for everyone to commit to living tobacco-free. We know that quitting smoking can be difficult and can take more than a day. GASO isn’t necessarily the day for smokers to quit smoking, but rather the day for smokers to start their journey toward a smoke-free life.

How to Get Started

Quitting isn’t an easy task. It takes planning, commitment, trial and error, and a lot of support. Smokers are strongly advised to use proven cessation methods, such as prescription medications and counseling, or a combination of both, to quit smoking. It’s a good idea to talk to your doctor or pharmacist to get their advice.1 If you’re interested in creating your quit plan, click here for more info.

How to Help Someone that Smokes

If you have a friend or family member ready to quit, here are a few recommendations to help you along the way2:

  • Ask the person whether they want you to ask regularly how they’re doing. Ask how they’re feeling – not just whether they’ve stayed quit.
  • Don’t judge, nag, preach, tease, or scold. This may make the smoker feel worse about him or herself. You don’t want your loved one to turn to a cigarette to soothe hurt feelings.
  • If the person relapses, encourage them to try again. Studies show that most people who don’t succeed in quitting are ready to try again in the near future.

For more tips, click here.

Tria Health and Tobacco Cessation

For employers that offer Tria Health’s Tobacco Cessation Program, Tria provides free confidential counseling with a clinical pharmacist. If you ready to quit smoking, Tria Health’s pharmacist will assist you in managing your medications and finding a treatment plan that works for you.

Tria Health assists, not only members who smoke cigarettes, but members looking to end their use of all tobacco products (e-cigarettes, smoke-free tobacco, hookah, etc.) While scientists are still learning more about the effects of e-cigarettes or e-hookahs, there is already enough evidence to justify efforts to prevent e-cigarette use. We know that the vapor from e-cigarettes is harmful because it contains harmful ingredients, including nicotine. Nicotine exposure during adolescence can cause addiction and can harm the developing brain.3 In addition, smokeless tobacco products also contains many harmful ingredients.4 Tria Health believes in order to maintain optimal health, it is imperative to end the use of all tobacco products.

Have any questions?

Contact the Tria Health Help Desk: 1.888.799.8742

 

Sources:

  1. https://www.cancer.org/healthy/stay-away-from-tobacco/great-american-smokeout.html
  2. https://www.cancer.org/healthy/stay-away-from-tobacco/helping-a-smoker-quit.html
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/features/ecigarettes-young-people/index.html
  4. https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/smokeless/health_effects/index.htm

What’s the deal with e-Cigarettes?

What are electronic cigarettes? 
Electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) came onto the market in 2007 and are battery operated devices that deliver nicotine via vapor. These differ from the traditional cigarette as there is no tobacco in the e-cig compared to its traditional counterpart.

Great unknowns about e-cigs:

  • Long-term risks associated with the inhalation of nicotine vapor
  • Exactly how much nicotine is delivered per inhalation
  • If there is proven benefit to using these products
  • What exactly is in the e-cigarette nicotine cartridge (many of these are manufactured in China and under no quality control)

Research:
A study published in the journal of Addictive Behaviors found that people who use e-cigs in order to quit smoking either became hooked on the e-cig or go back to using traditional cigarettes.

A study published in The Lancet found no statistically significant difference concerning the use of the e-cig compared the nicotine patch in terms of smoking cessation benefits.

Faulty Reasoning:
It is believed that the use of the e-cig creates an illusion on behalf of the smoker as they think they are doing something positive for themselves. In reality, the individual is maintaining their smoking habit.  Editors of The Lancet consider the e-cig “a moral quandary”. Other researchers agree that converting millions of smokers to the e-cig won’t necessarily lead to a cleaner, healthier environment as individuals are still addicted to nicotine.

Take Home Message:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not find a therapeutic purpose or benefit to the electronic cigarette at this time.