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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Perceived Risk of Electronic Cigarette Use

e-cigarettes
There are a significant number of people working a program of recovery who have made the switch from traditional, combustible cigarettes to e-cigarettes. While there is still a lot that is not understood about the long term effects of electronic cigarette use, it is widely agreed upon by experts that e-cigs are less harmful than traditional methods of tobacco use. However, if you use e-cigarettes, it is important to keep in mind that safer does not necessarily mean harmless.

In recent years, there has been a growing demand for the regulation of e-cigarettes; manufacturing and sales which occurred virtually unchecked for a long time. Finally, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ruled that e-cigarettes would be subject to the same laws as any other tobacco product. Meaning, that the devices can only be used legally by adults over the age of 18. The push for legislation was largely spearheaded by those with concerns about adolescent use.

Teenagers have been lured by e-cigarette manufacturers due to the fruity e-juice flavors which is vaporized and then inhaled. In fact, more teens are using e-cigarettes now than regular cigarettes. Age restrictions will hopefully make it more difficult for teens to acquire e-cigs. While the devices may be safer than tobacco, nicotine is still addictive and may lead to the use of other, more dangerous mind altering substances.

Moving forward, public perception of e-cigarettes should be driven by science rather than speculation. There has been a push to better understand the devices and the dangers associated with them, which has served to better inform the public. In fact, the perceived risk of electronic cigarette use has risen dramatically in relatively short period of time.

In 2012, nearly 12 percent of adult smokers reported perceiving e-cigs to be equally or more harmful than combustible cigarettes. However, data from the Tobacco Products and Risk Perception surveys indicate that 35 percent of adult smokers perceived e-cigarettes to be equally or more harmful than traditional cigarettes in 2015, according to a press release from Georgia State University. The findings were published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

"Although the impact of long-term use of e-cigarettes on health is still unknown," the researchers at the School of Public Health at Georgia State University, write, "the available scientific evidence indicates that e-cigarettes are less harmful than combustible cigarettes, and that smokers switching to e-cigarettes could benefit from a decrease in health risks related to smoking combustible cigarettes."

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