A top public health official at California health department on Wednesday opened campaign against ‘addictive’ electronic cigarettes, saying these slow killers are causing nicotine poisoning among children that in turn is threatening to decelerate the decades-long effort of the state to check tobacco use.
Ron Chapman, Director of the California Department of Public Health, released a report on e-cigarettes use in an attempt to express his serious reservations about their use as an alternative medium for traditional cigarettes at a time when the state legislature is debating whether to regulate these modern smoking devices under the tobacco regulations of the state.
“I am advising Californians to avoid the use of e-cigarettes and keep them away from children of all ages. E-cigarettes contain nicotine and other harmful chemicals. The nicotine present in them is equally addictive as the nicotine found in cigarettes,” Chapman said.
Meanwhile, the growing e-cigarette industry has criticized Chapman’s report, saying the heated liquid inhaled by the users is not as hazardous as the by-products of tobacco burning in regular cigarettes, pipes and cigars.
Gregory Conley, President of the American Vaping Association, said, “This report inappropriately paints this complex and crucial public health topic as a black and white issue. There is ample evidence that indicates vaping helps smokers quit and is far less hazardous than smoking.”
7.6 percent of people in the age group 18-29 in California used electronic cigarettes in 2013, which is up from 2.3 percent in 2012, according to Chapman’s report. The incidents of nicotine poisoning among children under the age of five increased shockingly from seven in 2012 to 154 in 2014, showed the report.
The health experts say owing to the fact that there are lesser research works on health effects of electronic cigarettes, their risks and benefits over traditional ones are the subject of intense debate.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is working in direction of finding potential product standards in the areas of toxicity, addiction and product appeal. However, FDA’s tobacco division head has noted that modern cigarettes do not cause flooding of smoke and tar in the lungs as done by the regular cigarettes.