News and Tribune

Opinions

October 3, 2013

NEWS AND TRIBUNE LETTERS — For Oct. 3

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E-cigs are not a treatment for smoking

Did you know that there are seven first-line medications that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating tobacco use addiction that have been thoroughly researched and endorsed by the health care professionals and electronic cigarettes are not one of them?

E-cigarettes — which are not FDA approved — are being marketed all over Clark County as a better smelling, cheaper and a flavorful alternative to smoking tobacco products. They are battery-powered devices that provide doses of nicotine and other additives to a user in an aerosol. Not only can they be purchased in your local grocery store chain, discount tobacco shops, drugstores and gas station-mini-marts but also at kiosks in our local malls.

E-cigarettes are devices that “claim” to contain no tobacco and are even designed to look like a cigarette. These e-cigarettes are designed to inhale ( also known as “vaping”) and are very similar to a traditional cigarette.

E-cigarette use has more than doubled among U.S. middle and high school students from 2011 to 2012, according to data published by the Center for Disease Control & Prevention. Findings from the National Youth Tobacco Survey in today’s Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report shows that the percentage of high school students who reported ever using an e-cigarette rose from 4.7 percent in 2011 to 10 percent in 2012. High School students in the same time period using e-cigarettes within the past 30 days rose from 1.5 percent to 2.8 percent. Use among middle school students also doubled. In 2012 more than 1.78 million middle school and high school students nationwide had tried electronic cigarettes.

The study further found that 76.3 percent of students who used e-cigarette within the past 30 days has also smoked conventional cigarettes in the same period. One in five middle school students that reported using an e-cigarette say they have never tried a conventional cigarette. This raises much concern that there are young people using e-cigarettes as an introduction to using a conventional tobacco product, including cigarettes.

Cigarette smoking remains the leading preventable cause of disease, disability and death in the United States, responsible for an estimated 443,000 deaths each year. For every one death there are 20 people living with smoking related disease.

My hope is that parents and kids alike that are using tobacco and/or e-cigarettes would take advantage of Indiana’s Free Tobacco Quitline 1-800-QUIT NOW (800-784-8669) or Indiana residents with an out of state area code can call 1-866-784-8454. Teens between 13 and 17 years old can now contact the quit line or visit eQuitNow.com for more information about the program.

— Annie Reiss, coordinator, Clark County Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Coalition

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