Dear HCCUA Members:
Despite our continuous awareness that smoking tobacco is damaging to our health more than 40 million Americans are cigarette smokers. Smoking cigarettes is known to cause damage to every organ in your body, and smoking-related illnesses are responsible for one out of every five deaths in the United States.
Even though there was a 10 percent decrease in cigarette sales that was directly derived from an increase in the federal cigarette tax, it is not only price that is changing the habits of American smokers. Electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes, have also contributed. Global sales of smokeless tobacco products, including smokeless inhalers, has grown to nearly $3 billion and continues to grow.
E-cigarettes are vaporizers; instead of burning tobacco, the mechanism heats up a liquid. Because they do not burn tobacco, there is no smoke, no carbon monoxide and no odor. What you inhale is vapor. E-cigarettes are smoke-free and tobacco-free, but they are not nicotine-free. The amount of nicotine depends on the mixture of the liquid-nicotine cartridge installed in the device.
Cigarette smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, and among those, 69 are known carcinogens. E-cigarettes, too, come with health and safety concerns. Liquid nicotine is extracted from tobacco, but unlike tobacco leaves, liquid nicotine can be lethal. It can cause harm when it is inhaled, but also harmful when ingested or absorbed through your skin. A small dose is dangerous. Less than one tablespoon of many of the e-liquids on the market is enough to kill an adult, and as little as a teaspoon could kill a child.
Even though being on the market for several years, many regulatory agencies and health experts are not sure just how safe e-cigarettes are. The concern falls in the lack of disclosure of all the ingredients used, as well as the lack of health and safety claims by manufactures about their products. For instance, the FDA found some cartridges of liquid nicotine contained about 1 percent diethylene glycol, a toxic chemical ingredient also found in antifreeze.
In addition, vapors can inhale huge numbers of very small aerosols, the most toxic size that can deposit into the lung’s tiniest airways which are pivotal to moving air into the body. The FDA has proposed requirements for e-cigarettes, nicotine gels and dissolvable tobacco, among other previously unregulated tobacco products, under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.
Furthermore, the nicotine inside these cartridges is addictive and considered a “gateway drug”, leading nonsmokers and kids to use tobacco. There are concerns that manufactures with huge advertising budgets and with celebrity endorsements, smoking has become popular again. This can roll back decades of progress in getting people to quit or never start smoking. When you stop using e-cigarettes, you can get withdrawal symptoms including feeling irritable, depressed, restless, and anxious. It can be dangerous for people with heart problems. It may also harm your arteries over time.
Nonsmokers beware! As many as 2.5 million nonsmokers have died from the lethal effects of secondhand smoke. Nicotine exposure from e-cigarettes is real, although studies suggest that expose is far less from vapors than from the smoke of regular cigarettes. Nicotine emissions are 10 times lower than from burning tobacco, and the secondhand aerosol doesn’t contain significant amounts of tobacco-specific toxins.
Cigarette smokers are known to be at higher risk for developing cancers, the biggest risk being lung cancer. Tobacco users are 15 to 30 times more likely to be diagnosed with or die because of lung cancer than nonsmokers, and tobacco use is responsible for as many as 90 percent of all lung cancer cases. Despite the marketing claims that e-cigarettes are safer than smoking tobacco, researchers are finding users experience diminished lung function, airway resistance and cellular changes, regardless of whether they currently smoke or have quit after smoking for some time.
It is never a bad idea to pick up good habits like exercising, meditation, talking with a family member, friend, or counselor; the options are endless! The goal is to make your life better and not allow the daily stresses we all experience drive us to do harmful things that effect our health like smoking, overeating or even depression.
We would love your feedback on any newsletters, articles, recipes, or posts that have stood out or helped you in some way. Come visit our website at www.hccua.org or visit and like us on Facebook/ Twitter. Thank You!
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!!!
Kristine Eckardt, Director of Member Communications