Vaping: A Health Threat Declares California

As the popularity of e-cigarettes soars, both federal and state health officials continue to question their safety. On January 27, 2015 lawmakers of California State introduced a new legislation which is likely to ban on use of electronic cigarettes at public places. Based on the “toxic” chemicals inhaled and exhaled by e-cig users as well as recent spikes in teen vaping rates and the number of kids poisoned by e-liquids, California health officials issued a public health advisory, urging the state’s residents to avoid or stop using e-cigs. The California Department of Public Health urged legislators to regulate e-cigarettes like tobacco products. The Department’s report says that e-cigarettes emit cancer-causing chemicals and get users hooked on nicotine, although there is still more research to be done on the immediate and long-term health effects. A study published last week found that e-cigarette smokers are 5 to 15 times more likely to get formaldehyde-related cancers.

After examining various aspects of a handful of commercially-available electronic nicotine delivery systems, the researcher’s team concluded that so-called e-cigarettes are unsafe and pose a health risk. Electronic cigarettes give users a dose of nicotine without burning tobacco. They are made up of a battery, an atomizer, and a cartridge containing nicotine and propylene glycol. When someone takes a draw, a sensor activates the battery which changes the tip of the device red to simulate smoking and also heats the atomizer. This vaporizes the chemicals and the e-cigarette then delivers a dose of nicotine into the user’s lungs. The California report called for restrictions on the marketing and sale of e-cigarettes, protections against accidental ingestion of liquid nicotine and an education campaign on the dangers of using e-cigarettes. Although California already banned the sale of e-cigarettes to minors in 2010, a state senator introduced legislation this week that would regulate e-cigarettes as tobacco products and ban their use in public places such as hospitals, bars and schools. A similar bill was defeated last year over opposition from tobacco companies. Other states including Oklahoma, Tennessee and Arkansas already have issued advisories cautioning the use of e-cigarettes positively hoping to prevent health hazards caused due to e cigarettes.

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