January 30, 2014 / Kristy Huffman,RN
Electronic cigarettes are a popular commodity today, but are they helping in the battle against smoking? This question has recently been the subject of a heated debate.
New York City Council voted 43-8 to add the smokeless smokes to the city's ban on smoking in public places. This means being banned in restaurants, bars, city parks and any other places where smoking is already outlawed. Mayor Michael Bloomberg is expected to sign the measure as one of his last actions while still in office. New Jersey, Arkansas, Utah and North Dakota have included e-cigarettes in their bans. Chicago and Los Angeles may be next to consider similar proposals.
Supporters of the ban state that vaping or electronic cigarettes normalize smoking. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the percentage of students grade 6-12 who have ever used e-cigarettes increased for 3.3 percent in 2011 to 6.8 in 2012. Evidence based studies show that in terms of nicotine and toxins, electronic cigarettes are far safer than tobacco cigarettes. However, when it comes to health effects, including secondhand exposure, further research is needed.
Charles Conner, former president and CEO of the American Lung Association, is an opponent of the ban. He states, “Electronic cigarettes are poised to revolutionize the tobacco industry by one day making traditional cigarettes obsolete.” By impulsively and inaccurately lumping vaping in with traditional cigarette smoking, a ban on these game-changing devices will discourage other smokers from trying a positive alternative."
Bottom line: nicotine is a highly addictive drug and tobacco smoke is very harmful to one’s health. Whether you smoke, your family member, neighbor or coworker smokes, kick off the New Year by quitting smoking yourself or supporting someone to quit smoking!