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October 30th, 2016:

Scientists stunned by new report about smoking

A new report about smoking suggests that the effects of vaping on the habit may be completely misunderstood.

An alarming new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that vaping might not be the easy cure to smoking that we thought it was, because many adults who use e-cigarettes also smoke tobacco cigarettes.

A total of 59 percent of all adult e-cigarette users also smoke cigarettes, and just 30 percent of e-cigarette users were former smokers, with the remaining 11 percent made up of people who had never smoked before.

A total of 40 percent of e-cig users between the ages of 18-24 were never-smokers, indicating this actually may be a new way to get people hooked on smoking or vaping, especially for young people. About 43 percent were current smokers and 17 percent were former smokers in that age group.

The new report follows a September statement from the CDC showing a rise in vaping in teens.

“The increased use of e-cigarettes by teens is deeply troubling,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., in the statement. “Nicotine is a highly addictive drug. Many teens who start with e-cigarettes may be condemned to struggling with a lifelong addiction to nicotine and conventional cigarettes.”

“About 90 percent of all smokers begin smoking as teenagers,” said Tim McAfee, M.D., M.P.H., director of the CDC Office on Smoking and Health. “We must keep our youth from experimenting or using any tobacco product. These dramatic increases suggest that developing strategies to prevent marketing, sales, and use of e-cigarettes among youth is critical.”

Big Tobacco hooking kids in Ukraine

A Ukraine tobacco control group is exposing Big Tobacco’s tactics for getting kids hooked.

Ukraine recently joined the global campaign Big Tobacco Tiny Targets through research led by the Institute for Global Tobacco Control at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the NGO, Advocacy Center LIFE.

During the research 102 schools were monitored within a 250-metre radius.

The research found:

  • 81 percent (376 out of 460 points of sale) of supermarkets, convenience stores and kiosks sold tobacco products;
  • 96 percent of these used aggressive marketing displays, putting tobacco products in or near the cashier zone and next to sweets and snacks where children could easily see them;
  • 55 percent were advertising tobacco to kids with oversized packs, illuminated advertisements and flavoured cigarette promotions.

Advocacy Center LIFE Chairman Andriy Skipalskyi said Ukraine had made tremendous progress implementing different tobacco control measures, but more needs to be done concerning children and tobacco.

“Our next step is to limit the tobacco accessibility particularly for children. Hence, the adoption of the display ban and implementation of Articles 9, 10, 11, and Guidelines, of the WHO FCTC into Ukrainian legislation are crucial for countering the tobacco industry marketing of deadly products to children.”

– See more at:

Vaping: It’s not a safe way to quit smoking

I am a respiratory therapist and tobacco specialist at Essentia Health St. Mary’s Hospital, and I work nearly every day with people struggling to breathe due to smoking cigarettes. It can be very difficult to quit smoking, and I want to offer smokers all the support they can get when quitting.

Unfortunately, I see a growing number of patients who turn to e-cigarettes as a means to quit smoking. That is why I felt I had to write the Detroit Lakes Tribune in response to an article “The End of Vaping?” that may have led some readers to believe that e-cigarettes have been conclusively proven safe and effective as a tool for people to quit smoking. I’d like to offer the following perspective as a local health care professional.

Research shows that the aerosol produced by e-cigarettes contains heavy metals, formaldehyde and other cancer-causing chemicals. E-cigarette aerosol also contains nicotine, the substance in tobacco that addicts smokers.

There is also no conclusive scientific evidence that e-cigarettes are effective for smoking cessation; in fact, quite often, users become addicted to both. If people wish to quit smoking, I encourage them to use evidence based support services and approved cessation aids.

At Essentia Health, we have specialists trained to provide these support services in person and for as long as you would like. Additionally, anyone in Minnesota can call QUITPLAN (1-888-354-7526) to find out about other free and low-cost services available to all Minnesota. Why would anyone want to take a chance on e-cigarettes when we already have tools that are safe and scientifically proven to work?

Also, despite the implication from the retailer in the article, there is no conclusive clinical research, or research of any kind, for that matter, that shows e-cigarettes reverse the symptoms of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). COPD is a debilitating disease that causes permanent damage to lung tissue.

This past summer, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration deemed e-cigarettes a tobacco product, just like cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco. When the deeming regulations are fully implemented in 2019, manufacturers will have to disclose the ingredients in e-cigarette liquid and include the Surgeon General’s warning on all packaging, among many other important consumer protections. This will provide more transparency to consumers and will aid in research about the health effects of e-cigarette use. In the meantime, I urge our community not to be unduly swayed by the self-interested statements of the e-cigarette industry.

(Vickie Lee is a registered respiratory therapist and certified tobacco treatment specialist at Essentia Health in Detroit Lakes)