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Employer Update | January 2016
Employer Update | January 2016

Smoldering Facts on E-Cigarettes

Smokers who have resolved to quit for the new year are cautioned to avoid using e-cigarettes to wean themselves off of tobacco products, according to research by Univera Healthcare.

Electronic cigarettes are battery-operated products that turn their contents into a vapor that is inhaled. They are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and can contain liquid nicotine, flavoring and potentially harmful chemicals.

“The risks associated with inhaling these vapors are largely unknown,” said Matthew Bartels, M.D., medical director of health care improvement at Univera. “Because e-cigarettes aren’t held to the FDA's rigorous review standards, there’s no way to verify the safety of these devices."

If you’re planning to quit smoking in the new year, Bartels recommends only FDA-approved smoking cessation methods:

  • Patches, gum and lozenges
  • Prescription medications, including nicotine inhalers prescribed by a health care provider
  • Nasal sprays

Smokers can receive free resources and assistance to help quit by calling the New York State Smokers’ Quitline at 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487).

In New York state, high school students and young adults ages 18 to 24 are almost twice as likely to use e-cigarettes than adults ages 25 and older, according to Univera.

Nationally, among high school students 8.7 percent of eighth graders, 16.2 percent of tenth graders and 17.1 percent of twelfth graders admit to using e-cigarettes in the past month.

“Such flavors as bubble-gum, cotton candy, and tutti-frutti could appeal to youths," said Bartels. "The pleasing flavors, coupled with the stimulating effect of liquid nicotine, make for a dangerous combination that could potentially lead to nicotine addiction.”

“This should be enough to make us question the impact e-cigarettes can have on the health of our children and others who may believe that e-cigarettes are a safe alternative to using tobacco products,” he added.

Univera Healthcare has created an infographic on e-cigarettes titled “Smoldering Facts on E-Cigarettes.”

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