Clear The Air News Tobacco Blog Rotating Header Image

Youth Vaping

California targets candy-flavored tobacco as teen ‘gateway’ to cigarette smoking

More teens are turning to fruit- and candy-flavored tobacco, raising concerns that sweetened e-cigarettes and cigarillos are a gateway to nicotine addiction. A California anti-tobacco campaign targeting teens has ramped up in high schools and at a recent state Capitol rally on Kick Butts Day. Claudia Buck cbuck@sacbee.com

http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/health-and-medicine/article140622513.html

At the checkout counter, the flavors are sweet and enticing: Banana Smash. Twisted Berry. Berry Honey. Cherry Dynamite.

They aren’t in the candy aisle but on the tobacco shelf, often sold in 99-cent two-pack mini-cigars or liquid cartridges for e-cigarettes.

While fewer young Americans are puffing on cigarettes, more teens are using flavored tobacco, typically by vaping with electronic cigarettes or smoking tiny cigars known as cigarillos.

This year, there’s a renewed push to banish flavored tobacco products, which health officials and others fear are luring the next generation of nicotine addicts by targeting teens and kids.

The sweetened flavors are “a gateway to traditional cigarette smoking,” said Scott Gerber, a wellness program director with the Alameda County Office of Education, who attended a recent anti-tobacco state Capitol rally with a handful of high school students from Berkeley and Fremont. Tobacco companies, he said, “are targeting young people with cherry, strawberry, piña colada flavors. … Gummi bears? That’s a youth-friendly flavor, not an adult-friendly flavor.”

Gerber was among about 250 high school students and chaperones who attended the anti-tobacco rally, chanting slogans and carrying signs with messages such as “We want to see a new light, not a lighter” and “We want 7,700 flavors of ice cream, not tobacco!” The rally was part of national Kick Butts Day, co-sponsored by the California Youth Advocacy Network and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

In 2014, 73 percent of high school students and 56 percent of middle school students who used tobacco products in the past 30 days reported using a flavored tobacco product, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Wheatland High School student Angelina Hom, 15, who belongs to a campus group called SOWHAT (Students Of Wheatland High Against Tobacco), said she’s seen the negative impacts of tobacco firsthand in family members and hopes more of her peers get the message to avoid tobacco.

Convenience stores near her Northern California school have prominent displays of brightly colored, fruity-flavored tobacco products positioned close to the checkout counter, she said. “You go to pay for your food and there’s a wall full of of tobacco and cigarettes. It targets kids into thinking it’s cool.”

E-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product among middle and high school teens in California. An estimated 217,000 Californians between the ages of 12 and 17 currently smoke traditional cigarettes or e-cigarettes, according to state health officials.

In stores, although tobacco products by law must be behind glass, it’s not unusual to find Swisher Sweets, candy-flavored cigarillos sold in two-packs for less than a dollar, sitting near candy bars and snacks, at eye level of young customers.

“Having it advertised as candy unlocks the door to the world of addiction,” said shopper Jenni Richardson, 24, in a midtown Sacramento convenience store where Swisher Sweets sit directly above the ice cream freezer case. A self-described recovering heroin addict, Richardson said tobacco products are dangerously addictive, noting it was far easier for her to quit narcotics than nicotine.

Last summer, the growth in e-cigarette use helped prompt California to toughen state tobacco laws, raising the minimum age for legally buying cigarettes and cigars from 18 to 21, the first change since tobacco control laws went into effect 144 years ago. Also for the first time, those laws now apply to e-cigarettes, which have become hugely popular for their myriad fruit and candy-scented flavors, with names such as Watermelon Krush, Apple Pie a la Mode and Blueberry Cotton Candy.

Some counties have banned all sales of flavored tobacco, including Yolo County, which prohibits sales in the county’s unincorporated areas, starting May 1. The intent was to deter use by youths, said Keri Hess, the county’s tobacco prevention youth coordinator.

“Lots of kids who use e-cigarettes would never dream of trying a regular cigarette because they say it tastes gross. They know the hazards of regular cigarettes and tobacco, but they don’t recognize the health hazards of e-cigarettes,” Hess said.

In Yolo County, 73 percent of stores carried e-cigarettes last year compared with 46 percent in 2013.

The state’s crackdown came as illegal sales of tobacco to minors were up last year by more than a third from 2015, according to the state Department of Public Health’s annual survey, which took place before the legal age was changed. Using teenage decoys trying to buy smokes, the annual survey found that 10.3 percent of 793 stores sold tobacco to underage buyers, the highest rate in eight years.

Citing research that shows brain development continues until around age 25, state health officials say nicotine is a “highly addictive neurotoxin” that can permanently damage adolescent and young adult brains.

“The younger people are when they start smoking or using nicotine, the more likely they are to become addicted,” said State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith during a news conference last summer. Every year in California, she noted, 34,000 people die of tobacco-related diseases.

She said the surge of teens vaping with e-cigarettes is no accident, given the “aggressive marketing” and the proliferation of gadgets and flavors by tobacco companies. Calling them “enticing gateway products,” Smith said e-cigarettes are “fueling the addiction” to nicotine.

Since 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has banned the sale of cigarettes with fruit and candy flavors, part of federal efforts to reduce tobacco addiction among youths. More recently, the FDA is focusing on cigars and cigarillos (mini-cigars). In December, it issued warning letters to four tobacco companies, including Swisher International Inc., maker of Swisher Sweets, for selling cigars in “youth-appealing” flavors, such as grape, wild cherry and strawberry.

If the companies don’t take action, they could face civil penalties, criminal prosecution and seizure of products, according to the FDA.

“Flavored cigarettes appeal to kids and disguise the bad taste of tobacco, but they are just as addictive as regular tobacco products and have the same harmful health effects,” said Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, in a statement. He said continued bans on flavored tobacco are essential to “protect future generations from a lifetime of addiction.”

To students at the recent state Capitol rally, the brightly colored packaging and sweetened flavors are “like candy,” enticing teens and kids to get hooked on nicotine at an early age, said Naphatsorn Kaewwanna, 18, a high school senior with the Asian American Drug Abuse Program in Los Angeles County.

“We should put a stop to it,” she said.

 

AAP, public health organizations call for FDA ban of all flavored tobacco products

Five health care organizations have urged the FDA to prohibit all candy- and fruit-flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, cigars and hookah tobacco, asserting that these products are undermining national efforts to reduce youth tobacco use and placing children at health risks from tobacco use and nicotine addiction.

http://www.healio.com/pediatrics/school-health/news/online/%7Baf2b3993-2fb7-48e8-afee-325363abd6d4%7D/aap-public-health-organizations-call-for-fda-ban-of-all-flavored-tobacco-products

The joint report released by the AAP, American Lung Association, the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network and Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids also criticized recent legislation introduced in Congress that could limit FDA oversight of e-cigarettes and cigars, as well as the growing market of flavored products.

“Despite the FDA’s ban on flavored cigarettes, the overall market for flavored tobacco products is growing. Continuing a long tradition of designing products that appeal explicitly to new users, tobacco companies in recent years have significantly stepped up the introduction and marketing of flavored other tobacco products — OTPs — particularly e-cigarettes and cigars, as well as smokeless tobacco and hookah,” the organizations wrote. “Although tobacco companies claim to be responding to adult tobacco users’ demand for variety, flavored tobacco products play a key role in enticing new users, particularly kids, to a lifetime of addiction.”

The report highlights data from the 2013-2014 Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) demonstrating the prevalence of flavored OTP use in youth demographics.

According to this study, two-thirds of children who currently use tobacco products claim enticing flavors, including gummy bear, cotton candy, peanut butter cup and cookies ‘n cream, as their reason for use.

Additionally, 80.8% of children aged between 12 and 17 years who have ever used a tobacco product began using with flavored products.

In May 2016, the FDA issued a deeming rule in which its authority on tobacco products would stretch to include all previously unregulated OTPs, including e-cigarettes, cigars and water pipes. This rule included several additional provisions, including refusal of sale to those under 18 in the U.S., vending machine sales in adult-only facilities, required addiction and health warnings, and disclosure of ingredients.

The deeming rule also allows the FDA to control the contents of tobacco products and forbids introducing OTPs without FDA review and additional scientific support of public health benefits. However, the White House Office of Management and Budget deleted a suggested provision that prohibited characterizing flavors.

E-cigarette use involves inhaling nicotine, a solvent (such as glycerin) and other additives. Although there are limited studies on the long-term effects of their use, studies have revealed that toxins such as formaldehyde, acrolein, toluene, tobacco-specific nitrosamines, and metals like lead and nickel are found in their make-up.

OTP use can lead to cancer of the oral cavity, larynx, esophagus and lung; aortic aneurysms; COPD; and increased risk of poisoning due to varying levels of nicotine. The effects of inhaling the flavoring in these products is unknown, according to the 2016 Surgeon General’s report.

“Congress must reject any proposals to weaken FDA oversight of these products. In fact, the FDA should strengthen its new rule by prohibiting all flavored tobacco products, including menthol products,” the organizations wrote. “As the FDA itself has demonstrated and as this report documents, there is more than sufficient scientific evidence to support such a prohibition. Eliminating all flavored tobacco products is a critical step in preventing tobacco companies from addicting another generation of kids and reversing our nation’s progress in the fight against tobacco.” — by Katherine Bortz

Alert: Just 10 Puffs Of an E-Cigarette As Deadly As a Regular Fag

“Quitting smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know it because I’ve done it thousands of times. Mark Twain

https://www.thequint.com/fitness/2016/12/21/just-10-puffs-of-e-cigarette-are-as-deadly-as-regular-cigarette-vaping-is-not-safer-than-smoking-quit-smoking-2017

Bang on! Science says that 9 out of 10 people who try to kick the butt fail miserably. Perhaps that is why, practically overnight, e-cigarettes have come into their own as the new in thing.

And now an independent study done by USA’s biggest child health body, the American Academy of Pediatrics, finds that e-cigarettes could be the gateway to lifelong nicotine addiction, hinder brain development, give you ‘popcorn lungs’ (an irreversible and fatal condition where the airways are narrowed and weakened) – and all this combined can threaten decades of anti-smoking gains.

If you think that e-cigarettes are an American phenomenon, smoke on this: In the last 3 years, the e-cigarette market has shot up to a $3-4 billion industry and the US contributes to only a quarter of it. In 2014, ITC started manufacturing e-cigarettes in India when most of the Chinese e-cigarette brands were readily available, and obviously, the cigarette giant will not invest millions in a tobacco cessation tool.

Before You Start Vaping, Here’s What You Need To Know

An alarming new study by Swedish scientists found that just 10 puffs of an e-fag can set the heart disease ball rolling, just like a regular cigarette.

It increases the risk of high blood pressure, hardens arteries and makes it harder for people to quit smoking. All this for the popular perception that e-cigarettes are a smoking cessation tool, but contrary to popular perception, it does contain nicotine.

Nicotine is as addictive as heroin, precisely why these vaping devices will never help anyone wean themselves off smoking.

An e-cigarette is a terrible alternative to smoking. In fact, they are much more sinister than tobacco cigarettes – even the World Health Organisation doesn’t buy it.

Nicotine poses several health hazards of varying severity and promotes the growth of tumours.

Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, Senior Oncologist Surgeon, Head and Neck Cancer Surgery, Tata Memorial Hospital

According to Dr Chaturvedi, e-cigarettes also pose the threat of nicotine poisoning – if you inhale three cartridges in a row, you can die. One cartridge has roughly 11 milligrams of nicotine, three would be over 30, which is a fatal dose. The World Health Organisation says reports of nicotine poisoning have increased manyfold in the US and UK where the popularity of e-cigarettes is soaring.

vape-01

vape-02

vape-03

Where Does India Stand On E-Cigarette Regulations?

Like with most subjects to do with ‘health’, India does not have a national policy on e-cigarettes yet.

The problem is that e-cigarettes are not mandated by law, and they don’t come under the jurisdiction of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act or fall in the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act. Companies can openly flout the tobacco control provisions, which means they can sell it to kids under the age of 18, skip the gory pictorial warnings on packaging, and openly advertise it.

In 2013, the then Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan called a closed door meeting of public health activists and FDA officials to completely ban the sale and supply of e-cigarettes in the country.

He was motivated by the news that 13 of the 59 countries that regulate e-cigarettes banned them after compelling scientific evidence that these sticks do more harm than good. But since then, the Health Minister changed and the issue has been put on the back-burner.

A new drug is being freely and openly being sold to people and that drug is nicotine. We don’t know how healthy or unhealthy these are over the long term. But the question is this: if in the next 5 years, we find out these are as deadly as cigarettes for your health, what happens then?

Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, Senior Oncologist Surgeon, Head and Neck Cancer Surgery, Tata Memorial Hospital

The problem is that Big Tobacco has not revealed exactly what kinds of chemicals there are in the vapour liquid.

And that is concerning.

Health experts don’t trust them. Nobody should trust them. Their only motive is profit. Will you be naive enough to think that big tobacco firms want to help smokers quit?

E-cigarettes attracting more youths towards world of tobacco

You might have thought e-cigarettes cut down tobacco consumption, but the reality is a bit different.

A study, by University of California- San Francisco,suggests that it actually attracts more youths towards tobacco consumption.

It has been published in Pediatrics.

Researchers from University Of California in the United States of America said they did not find any evidence of decline in the consumption of tobacco. In fact, the usage of e-cigarettes & cigarettes has gone higher among adolescents in 2014 compared to the numbers from 2009.

“We didn’t find any evidence that e-cigarettes are causing youth smoking to decline,” said lead author Lauren Dutra.

The analysis by the researchers also saw that section of youth who start smoking e-cigarettes are more likely to draw themselves in consuming traditional cigarettes in later part of their lives.

“While some of the kids using e-cigarettes were also smoking cigarettes, we found that kids who were at low risk of starting nicotine with cigarettes were using e-cigarettes,” Dutra said. “Recent declines in youth smoking are likely due to tobacco control efforts, not to e-cigarettes.”

In August 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, already restricted the purchase of e-cigarettes to adults aged 18 years and older. The FDA also directed to have a warning label on e-cigarettes which will start from August 2018.

The authors also said that there has been a decline in cigarette smoking youth but the decline has not been rapid after the advent of e-cigarettes in the U.S. between the years 2007 and 2009.

The authors performed an in-depth analysis of the psychological characteristics of the consumers of e-cigarettes. The research showed that the smokers tend to display some characteristics which non-smokers are less likely to show.

Characteristics like the tendency to live with a person who smokes or to wear clothing which displays tobacco product logo. The smokers in the national youth survey showed these characteristics, while the youth who were only using e-cigarettes displayed less of these qualities.

“E-cigarettes are encouraging – not discouraging – youth to smoke and to consume nicotine, and are expanding the tobacco market,” said senior author Stanton A. Glantz.

These new results are consistent with a similar study that took place in California last year by the researchers at the University of Southern California. The researchers also found that adolescents who consumed ecigarettes, but not traditional cigarettes have displayed less risk factors which were commonly found among cigarette smokers. (ANI)

Youths More Likely to Combine E-cigarettes with Other Substances

Are youths more likely to combine e-cigarettes with other substances? A new study of Canadian high school students shows a correlation between e-cigarette use and other risky behaviors, including tobacco and marijuana smoking, binge drinking, and mixing alcohol with energy drinks.

http://www.medicalnewsbulletin.com/youths-likely-combine-e-cigarettes-substances/

E-cigarette popularity has increased significantly amongst global youths since 2011. Recent data also shows a spike in e-cigarette use amongst high school students in Canada, with approximately 20% of students reporting having tried an e-cigarette. With vapor emerging as a supposedly healthier alternative to tobacco smoking, researchers and public health workers have voiced concerns regarding unknown long-term effects of e-cigarette vapor on individuals’ health, the risks of renormalizing smoking in popular culture, and the potential for e-cigarettes to become gateway substances. Evidence suggests that high school students may be more likely to combine e-cigarettes with other substances such as marijuana and alcohol, which pose health risks amongst youths.

A recent Journal of Adolescent Health (2016) review of year 3 (2014-2015) of the COMPASS study analyzed data from 39,837 Canadian high school students from Grade 9-12 to investigate the correlation between e-cigarette use and binge drinking, mixing energy drinks with alcohol, and smoking tobacco or marijuana. During the course of the COMPASS study, a student-level questionnaire, or Cq, was given to participants during class time in order to collect information regarding substance use within the last 30 days to 12 months. Any student who indicated that they had consistently used a substance within the last 30 days was classified as a current user (e.g. students who reported smoking cigarettes within 30 days prior to taking the questionnaire were categorized as current smokers).

Researchers retained all data for participants that provided full information on necessary variables for the study, such as age, ethnicity, and consistent responses regarding recent substance use. Using these criteria, 2323 respondents were excluded from this study. The remaining data was further divided into subgroups based on sex, ethnicity, and spending money, and placed within a logistic regression model to examine any potential associations between each student’s demographic and their substance use patterns.

Nearly 10% of participating students reported having used e-cigarettes in the last 30 days. Comparatively, approximately 6% were current smokers, 15.97% were marijuana users, 13.69% consumed energy drinks mixed with alcohol, and 16.20% reported occasional binge drinking. While marijuana use was more common among male participants, occasional binge drinking was found to be more prevalent among females. Evidence also showed a higher likelihood of e-cigarette users to use other substances as well (28.66% of e-cigarette users were current tobacco smokers, 53.15% were current marijuana users, 20.09% were occasional binge drinkers, and 41.08% reported mixing alcohol and energy drinks). Researchers found that while the co-occurrence of binge drinking and marijuana use among current e-cigarette users seemed common, e-cigarette users who exclusively only smoked tobacco (and did not binge drink or smoke marijuana) was determined to be rare.

Both current smokers and male students with more spending money were found to be more likely to use e-cigarettes. Similarly, students who reported other health-risky behaviors, such as binge drinking and marijuana use, were more likely to use e-cigarettes than non-drinkers or non-smokers. This data on current e-cigarette use demonstrates a 35% increase amongst the youth of Ontario and Alberta from the previous year of COMPASS data. Furthermore, substance use appears to act as a strong indicator of future e-cigarette use relative to age, sex, ethnicity, and available funds.

As the results of this study have shown, health-risky behaviors appear to have a strong correlation with increased likelihood of e-cigarette use (although there is a lower prevalence of e-cigarette use as smokers increase in age). These findings are useful in terms of public health program planning, as further research may enable prevention efforts to target younger demographics within the youth population who are at a higher risk for e-cigarette or other substance use.

Vapers beware: 10 things to know about e-cigarettes

With catchy names like Smurf Cake and Unicorn Puke and sweet flavors like bubble gum and strawberry, electronic cigarettes may have special appeal to young people, but that doesn’t mean they are safe.

https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/vapers-beware-ten-things-know-about-e-cigarettes

Evidence is mounting that e-cigarettes are exposing a new generation to nicotine addiction and may be leading users toward a cigarette habit. As a result, the U.S. surgeon general last month issued a report declaring youth e-cigarette use “a major public health concern.”

“All Americans need to know that e-cigarettes are dangerous to youth and young adults,” said Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, in releasing the report. “Any tobacco use, including e-cigarettes, is a health threat, particularly to young people.”

The battery-powered devices heat a liquid typically containing nicotine mixed with the chemicals propylene glycol and glycerin as well as flavorings to deliver an aerosol inhaled by the user. While e-cigarettes deliver nicotine without the tar and smoke of traditional tobacco cigarettes, they still are considered tobacco products.

But their healthy halo has helped propel their popularity: E-cigarettes are now so popular that more American youth vape than smoke cigarettes. In just a decade, e-cigarettes have become a multibillion-dollar business led by multinational tobacco companies with outlets not just online but everywhere from vape shops to convenience stores and retail giants like Wal-Mart.

Ads tout them as a cool, harmless alternative to cigarettes. E-cigarette users, or vapers, have contests to see who can blow the largest cloud of vapor.

But there’s more to e-cigarettes than meets the eye. The surgeon general’s report aligns with increasing scrutiny of e-cigarettes, from new regulations to a growing body of research into health effects.

Here are 10 things to know about e-cigarettes:

E-cigarettes contain nicotine

E-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is addictive and can harm the developing adolescent brain, said UC San Francisco professor of medicine Stanton Glantz.

A lot of the kids who take up vaping are at low risk for smoking, but once they start using e-cigarettes, they are three to four times more likely to start using cigarettes, Glantz said.

“The biggest health concern with e-cigarettes is they are prolonging and expanding the tobacco industry,” Glantz said.

Glantz, director of UCSF’s Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, said he was initially neutral on e-cigarettes, but now finds them concerning. Among other hazards, e-cigarettes produce ultrafine particles than can trigger inflammatory problems and lead to heart and lung disease.

“The data is just becoming overwhelming,” Glantz said.

E-cigarettes expose people to more than ‘harmless water vapor’

E-cigarettes are billed as producing “harmless water vapor,” but, strictly speaking, the vapor produced when users exhale is actually an aerosol that contains a mixture of nicotine, flavorings and other ingredients that can be toxic.

Stanford University pediatrics professor Bonnie Halpern-Felsher has studied young people’s perceptions of e-cigarettes. In September, she launched a free, downloadable youth tobacco prevention toolkit with an e-cigarette module, funded by the UC Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (TRDRP) and the California Department of Education.

“Youth are definitely using e-cigarettes because they think they are cool,” Halpern-Felsher said. “Adolescents and young adults don’t know a lot about e-cigarettes. They think it’s just water or water vapor. They don’t understand it’s an aerosol. They don’t understand that e-cigarettes can have nicotine. They don’t understand that flavorants themselves can be harmful.”

The flavors can be toxic

More than 7,000 varieties of flavored e-cigarettes are on the market.

UC Riverside professor of cell biology Prue Talbot screened the cytotoxicity (quality of being toxic to cells) of 36 refill fluids and found that some were highly toxic. The most cytotoxic flavor, Cinnamon Ceylon, contained a chemical called cinnamaldehyde, which gives cinnamon its flavor and whose side effects may include coughing and sore throats. Talbot has been studying more flavors and is building a database to help determine the most dangerous ones.

“Flavors are something that could be potentially regulated,” Talbot said.

Vaping has secondhand and thirdhand effects

Unlike cigarettes, which emit smoke from the lit end, e-cigarettes don’t produce sidestream emissions between puffs, but they still generate secondhand and thirdhand effects when users exhale the mainstream vapor.

In a TRDRP-funded study, Berkeley Lab researcher Hugo Destaillats led a team that found 31 chemicals that include several toxicants at significant levels in e-cigarette vapor. The most toxic chemicals included acrolein, a severe eye and respiratory irritant; and formaldehyde, an irritant and probable carcinogen.

Emissions varied by type of device and voltage.

“The way you heat the liquid drastically determines if you produce a lot of compounds or just a few,” Destaillats said. “As you increase the voltage, toxic byproduct concentrations increase exponentially.”

The batteries can explode

There were 134 reports of e-cigarette batteries overheating, catching fire or exploding between 2009 and January 2016, according to the Food and Drug Administration, which will host a public workshop in April to gather information about e-cigarette battery safety concerns.

E-cigarette batteries “can explode without notice,” Talbot said. “People can be quite severely injured.”

E-liquids are poisonous if swallowed

Calls to poison control centers about e-cigarette exposure in young children have skyrocketed nationally in recent years. In California, the number of calls involving e-cigarettes increased from 19 in 2012 to 243 in 2014, according to the UC-administered California Poison Control System. More than 60 percent of those e-cigarette calls were related to nicotine poisoning in children 5 and under.

E-cigarettes show mixed results in helping smokers quit

While some people have quit smoking with e-cigarettes, on average, adult smokers who use e-cigarettes are about 30 percent less likely to stop smoking cigarettes, Glantz said. Also, e-cigarettes are associated with more, not less, cigarette smoking among adolescents.

“If you are a middle-aged person who has been smoking for 20 years, maybe it is good to switch to e-cigarettes,” Destaillats said. “But if you are a teenager and never have smoked, then it is not a good idea to use e-cigarettes.”

The minimum age has risen

In June, California became the nation’s second state, following Hawaii, to raise the minimum age for tobacco sales to 21, and for the first time added e-cigarettes to the definition of tobacco products. In August, the FDA extended its tobacco oversight to e-cigarettes, banning sales to those under 18.

“It sends a message to youth that e-cigarettes are in the same category of all tobacco products,” Halpern-Felsher said.

E-cigarettes will be taxed

Under Proposition 56, the tobacco tax passed by California voters in November, the state will tax e-cigarettes for the first time, starting April 1. It’s estimated that the price of a typical 30-milliliter bottle of e-liquid could increase to about $30 from $20.

“Anytime you increase the price, people buy less,” Glantz said.

The tax revenue will enhance education efforts by boosting funding for the state Tobacco Control Program. The surgeon general’s report also will make it easier for states to integrate e-cigarettes into tobacco education campaigns and could lead to more regulations, Glantz said.

E-cigarettes may be safer than cigarettes, but unknown risks remain

Expect more information to emerge about e-cigarettes as studies examine long-term effects.

“It’s often assumed that e-cigarettes are safer than cigarettes, but that could be an incorrect assumption,” Talbot said. “We don’t yet know the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes.”

Decades of research have helped scientists determine that cigarette smoke creates more than 7,000 chemicals, at least 69 of which are known to cause cancer and many of which are poisonous.

So, while e-cigarettes deliver fewer cancer-causing chemicals than cigarettes, research has yet to reveal how e-cigarettes fully impact heart and lung health and their cancer-causing potential, Glantz said.

He estimates that e-cigarettes are about one-third to one-half as dangerous as cigarettes.

In other words, they are still plenty dangerous.

“Regular cigarettes are super unhealthy,” Destaillats said. “E-cigarettes are just unhealthy.”

Why e-cigs are not a safer alternative to cigarettes

Today’s guest blogger is Blair Thornley, PharmD, a certified specialist in poison information, at Poison Control Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/healthy_kids/Why-e-cigs-are-not-a-safer-alternative-to-cigarettes.html

Electronic cigarettes, or “e-cig” use among teens has increased tremendously in the last two years, from approximately 780,000 in 2013 to more than 3 million students in 2015. Similarly, between 2011 and 2013, exposure to e-cigarette TV ads increased by 256 percent among 12 to 17- year-olds and by 321 percent among young adults between the ages of 18 and 24.

Of those surveyed, 40 percent said that they used e-cigarettes because they tasted good; only 10 percent admitted to using them as a quitting aid for conventional cigarettes. These results seem to suggest that, not only are adolescents using e-cigarettes primarily for recreational purposes, but that their increase in popularity is due to the successful marketing techniques of e-cigarette manufacturers. Many of these efforts mimic the tactics that Big Tobacco used in the mid-1900s, and they’re working – again.

When you look at old tobacco ads next to newer, e-cigarette ads, the similarities are astounding. Until late this past summer, e-cigarettes were not considered tobacco products by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration so marketers did not have to adhere to the same standards and laws as the tobacco companies. They used celebrity spokespeople such as Jenny McCarthy and Courtney Love. Their ads portrayed rugged men and glamorous women sending the message that using e-cigarettes is masculine, sexy, or rebellious. They knew that sex sells, and therefore portrayed their products as something that will make the user more attractive to the opposite sex. Some e-cigarette companies even sponsored sporting events and music festivals because they knew it would help them reach large audiences, including young children and teens.

Many e-liquids come in sweet flavors, with names that are appealing to younger audiences, such as “I love donuts” or “Mama’s cookies”. They also used cartoons, reminiscent of Joe Camel, who successfully marketed cigarettes to kids in the 1990s. Still other ads send the message that they’re healthier than regular cigarettes by encouraging people to “switch, don’t quit”. With all of these tactics, it’s little wonder why e-cigarette use among youth is on the rise.

Another important factor fueling the rise in e-cigarette use is the commonly held belief among young people that they are less harmful than tobacco products. Some teens are unaware that the e-liquids they’re using contain nicotine, and nearly 20 percent of young people believe that they cause no harm at all! The majority of teens are using them out of sheer curiosity, they think it tastes good, and it’s a fun thing to do with their friends. They don’t realize that many of these products contain nicotine, which can lead to a powerful, life-long addiction, as well as a permanent lowering of impulse control among teens.

There is also evidence that the aerosol vapors from the e-cigarette are not as harmless as initially believed. Flavoring is added with a chemical known as diacetyl, which has been linked to serious lung disease. E-liquids may also contain heavy metals, such as nickel, lead or tin. Another risk that has been making headlines recently is the e-cigarette batteries that have exploded in users’ pockets, resulting in serious injuries. Because this trend is so new, scientists are still working to understand the long-term health effects, but all the preliminary evidence seems to indicate that e-cigarettes are no safer than conventional cigarettes, and should not be used recreationally.

With all of this new information, it’s important to establish an open dialogue with your teens and young adults, and make sure they’re aware of the risks associated with e-cigarettes. The more you know, the better equipped you will be to protect your children. If you have any questions about e-cigarettes, you can feel free to call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222, where a pharmacist or nurse is on staff 24 hours a day to answer your call.

The Surgeon General’s Report on E-Cigarettes: Quitters & Starters

By Dr. Sudip Bose, MD

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-sudip-bose/the-surgeon-generals-repo_b_14046964.html

Jan. 7, 2016 — A report on e-cigarettes released at the end of last year by the US Surgeon General’s office shows a number of risks related to the popular product — particularly regarding young people — that should make them a lot less popular, but likely won’t. The act of “vaping” is often thought of as a safer alternative to smoking, but that’s not necessarily the case. Here are the dangers and potential dangers people should be paying attention to related to e-cigarettes:

The Debate

E-cigs are at the center of one of the most contentious debates in public health. The availability and appeal of using e-cigs as an alternative to smoking cigarettes has been growing quickly over the years for both those who are new to smoking, as an introductory product, and to those who are trying to quit smoking, who see it as a more “healthful” way of trying to kick the smoking habit.

However, e-cigs don’t solve the nicotine problem at all. Yes, e-cigs eliminate tar, and yes, e-cigs eliminate the tobacco — both dangerous elements to one’s health. And that’s definitely good. But what they do not eliminate is the critical element of nicotine. Nicotine is one of the most highly addictive substances on earth. It’s presented in a liquid and then vaporized form in an e-cig; you inhale through the e-cig, and as you inhale, the nicotine and other substances in the liquid are atomized and absorbed into your lungs. The nicotine in an e-cig is a lot more concentrated and potent.

New Users

For those who have never smoked and who are interested in the experience, e-cigs are an entry-level product that have been promoted and marketed as being safe. They’re not. They may be “safer” than cigarettes, but that’s only by degree.

While a new “vaper” isn’t exposed to the other substances of tar and tobacco such as are found in a normal cigarette, he or she is getting concentrated and more potent doses of nicotine. That’s not good. And we’re seeing younger and younger people trying these. Also not good. The e-cig “e-liquid,” which is what produces the vapor that users inhale and exhale, are marketed in an array of flavors that appeal to younger users — junior high and high school age kids — they’re available for order online, and you’re getting addicted right away to the habit of using nicotine. The flavors available boggle the imagination: bubble gum, banana, “Mother’s MIlk,” blueberry-lemon, banana cinnamon nutbread, pomegranate, strawberry — it goes on endlessly. These teenagers — and even younger children — are getting addicted early, which could lead to smoking, and e-cigs can easily become a gateway to trying and developing an addiction to more serious drugs. Addiction correlates to crime. People need to feed their habit, they break into homes to steal things to resell, they commit robberies on the streets, all to get money to feed their addiction. Ultimately they make some very poor choices and place themselves in very dangerous situations.

We may see less cancer as a result of e-cig use, because the tobacco and tar are gone. But we won’t be able to tell that for years or decades to come. Remember there are other chemicals mixed in with the nicotine in the solution that also could cause cancer down the road. The liquid that becomes vaporized in e-cigs, which you inhale and exhale in a cloud of vapor, contains not only nicotine but an array of other substances, such as propylene glycol, glycerine, flavorings and sometimes components like diacetyl, acetyl propionyl, benzaldehyde and the less-threatening sounding vanillin. We know that when inhaled, diacetyl causes a type of bronchitis known as “popcorn lung” — a scarring of the tiny air sacs in the lungs resulting in the thickening and narrowing of the airways. It may sound benign to a degree, but according to the American Lung Association, “it’s a serious disease that causes wheezing and shortness of breath, similar to the symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).”

Quitting Smoking

If you’re trying to quit smoking, remember the key drug, nicotine, is still very much available through an e-cig and at much higher, concentrated doses. So while you will be eliminating the tar and tobacco of a cigarette, you’re amping up the accessibility of nicotine. That’s not exactly a great way to wean yourself from something harmful — to add more of it to your system.

We’re seeing a lot more nicotine toxicity. For example, little babies we see in the emergency room — sometimes they get a hold of a cigarette and they chew on it, which is usually not that harmful. But if they get a hold of an e-cigarette and ingest some of that liquid nicotine, which again is so concentrated in an e-cig form, we see nausea, vomiting seizures, paralysis — bad things.

Being that the nicotine is one of the most addictive substances, it’s not really helping you quit your addiction, it’s not the path to accomplishing that. And we’re seeing younger and younger people getting into it.

An Alternative to Smoking

There is a rising “connoisseur-ship” that’s evolved in the world of vaping in which vapers discuss vaping in the same way that wine aficionados discuss the nuances of whatever wine they are drinking. That’s great, but that doesn’t lessen the dangers outlined above.

Are vapers listening? Not really. In 2013, e-cigarette-related sales were $1.7 billion, which was double what they were in 2012. In 2015, those sales had risen to $2.9 billion. Many tobacco manufacturers also are in the e-cigarette game. More than 250 e-cig brands are on the market.

Perhaps this Surgeon General’s report will help refocus attention on the dangers of e-cigarettes and give people enough of a reason to take a pass at the growing trend of vaping.

For more about Dr. Sudip Bose, MD, please go to SudipBose.com and visit his nonprofit TheBattleContinues.org where 100% of donations go directly to injured veterans

Follow Dr. Sudip Bose on Twitter: www.twitter.com/docbose

Starting with e-cigs triples odds of starting cigarettes among college students; the evidence just keeps piling up

Tory Spindle and colleagues at VCU recently published a study, “Electronic cigarette use and uptake of cigarette smoking: A longitudinal examination of U.S. college students,” that followed 3757 students at Virginia Commonwealth University for a year to examine the relationship between e-cigarette use among never cigarette smokers at the beginning and whether they were smoking conventional cigarettes a year later. They found, controlling for a wide range of demographic and behavioral variables, that e-cigarette users at baseline were about 3.4 times as likely to be smoking cigarettes a year later as young adults who were not using e-cigarettes.

This effect is consistent with a similar study of young adult males in Switzerland as well as all the studies of adolescents.

Here are the highlights and the abstract:

HIGHLIGHTS

• E-cig and cigarette use has not been studied in college students longitudinally.
• Ever and current e-cig use increased non-smokers chances of trying cigarettes.
• Historically internalizing/externalizing factors predict cigarette uptake strongly.
• Most internalizing/externalizing factors examined did not predict e-cig uptake.
• Males and marijuana users were more likely to initiate e-cig use.

ABSTRACT

Introduction:

Electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use prevalence is increasing among U.S. adolescents and adults but recent longitudinal data for college/university students are scarce.

Furthermore, the extent that e-cigarette use is associated with the onset of cigarette smoking and the factors that lead to the uptake of ecigarettes in college students has not been explored.

Methods:

3757 participants from a Mid-Atlantic university (women: 66%; White: 45%; Black: 21%; Asian: 19%; Hispanic/Latino: 6%) were surveyed in 2014 and again in 2015.

Results:

Among participants reporting never smoking at time 1, those who had ever tried e-cigarettes or were currently using e-cigarettes (at least one use in past 30 days) were more likely to have ever tried cigarettes by time 2 relative to individuals who had not used e-cigarettes. Ever use of e-cigarettes (but not current use) also increased participants’ likelihood of being current cigarette smokers at time 2. Among initial never users of e-cigarettes or cigarettes, males and ever marijuana users had an increased probability of trying e-cigarettes by time 2. Furthermore, less perseverance (an index of impulsivity) and ever use of other tobacco products increased initial never users’ chances of trying both cigarettes and e-cigarettes by time 2.

Conclusions:

Given that never-smoking participants who had tried e-cigarettes were more likely to initiate cigarette use later, limiting young adults’ access to these products may be beneficial. As the long-term health implications of e-cigarette use become clearer, predictors of e-cigarette use could help identify future populations likely to use and abuse these products.

Here is the full citation: Spindle, et al. Electronic cigarette use and uptake of cigarette smoking: A longitudinal examination of U.S. college students. Addictive Behaviors 2017; 67:66-72. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2016.12.009

 

Local Anti Tobacco Advocate Busts E-cigarette Myths

http://www.caledonianrecord.com/features/health/local-anti-tobacco-advocate-busts-e-cigarette-myths/article_65ee5497-ed23-5131-b69d-a503312368c3.html

According to a recently released report by the US Surgeon General, research has confirmed that there has been a significant increase in electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use in recent years. Just last year alone, in 2015, the increase of electronic cigarette use has more than doubled particularly among our youth (ages 11 – 14), adolescents (ages 15 – 17) and in our young adults (ages 18 – 25) with more than 3 million youth in middle and high school using electronic cigarettes within the past 30 days. A cash cow for the tobacco industry, these numbers are increasing daily. More than 85 percent of electronic cigarette users ages 12 – 17 use flavored e-liquids, which come in a large variety of flavors, and are especially appealing to youth. And the flavors are the leading reason for youth use, according to the Surgeon General’s report.

Tobacco companies have been ramping up their marketing strategies to attract and cause young people to start using electronic cigarettes. In the United States, $3.5 billion dollars in sales is big business for the industry. Electronic cigarette manufacturers spent $125 million dollars in advertising their products with retail stores becoming the most frequent source of youth exposure to the tobacco industry’s advertising approaches. The tobacco industry has gone back to its old tactics that are much the same as the ones used to promote the conventional tobacco products.

Unlike the marketing campaigns of yesteryear, advertising approaches and themes today have a significant advantage with the use of internet and social media creating a more effective and wider outreach to attract youth and young adults, causing them to start using tobacco products at a much earlier age. In 2014, more than 7 out of 10 middle and high school students stated that they have been exposed to tobacco advertising. Research has shown that youth who use tobacco products like electronic cigarettes or chew, are most likely to go on to use other tobacco products like the traditional tobacco cigarette. In 2015, nearly 6 out of 10 high school cigarette smokers were also using electronic cigarettes.

The tobacco industry has claimed that electronic cigarettes are safer than the traditional tobacco cigarette. The tobacco industry has also claimed that the chemicals in e-liquids are not harmful to the user. The tobacco industry has suggested that electronic cigarettes can and may be used as a cessation tool to quit smoking. On the contrary, the newly released US Surgeon General’s report has confirmed these claims to be myths. The US Surgeon General’s report has busted these myths by saying;

The use of products containing nicotine poses dangers to youth, pregnant women, and fetuses. The use of products containing nicotine in any form among youth, including electronic cigarettes, is unsafe.

The liquid usually has nicotine, which comes from tobacco, flavoring; and other additives. Many electronic cigarettes contain nicotine, which is highly addictive. The nicotine in electronic cigarettes and other tobacco products can prime young brains for addiction to other drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamine. Electronic aerosol is not harmless. The aerosol or vapor created by electronic cigarettes can contain ingredients harmful and potentially harmful to the public’s health.

There have been no conclusive study results or evidence to confirm that electronic cigarettes are a possible cessation tool for those who want to quit smoking. On the contrary, there is sufficient evidence to substantiate that the use of electronic cigarettes promotes users to use both electronic cigarettes along with smoking the conventional tobacco cigarette and that can potentially place the user at risk for exposure to higher levels of nicotine in the body that may ultimately lead to acute toxicity and possible death from over-exposure to nicotine.

The US Surgeon General’s full report titled: E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults, can be found on the Surgeon General’s official website: https://e-cigarettes.surgeongeneral.gov.