Many people see e-cigarettes as a harmless alternative to nicotine cigarettes. E-cigarette companies like NJOY have even hired on celebrity endorsers including Bruno Mars, while several other stars were seen puffing away on e-cigs during the 2014 Golden Globes.
But as medical professionals have quickly caught on to the health risks associated with e-cigarettes, California has officially become the first state to launch a formal campaign against them.
The Coming War on E-Cigs
The California Department of Health (CDPH) has rolled out both TV and online ads this month that warn residents about the dangers of e-cigarettes. One ad, titled “What Could Go Wrong,” calls them “a new way to inhale toxic chemicals.” A second ad called “Kids Aren’t Alright” addresses the candy-flavored E-cig products that state health officials are intentionally marketed towards children.
“California has been a world leader in tobacco use prevention and cessation since 1990…the aggressive marketing and escalating use of e-cigarettes threatens to erode that progress,” said Dr. Karen Smith, CDPH director and state health officer.
Taking on the Dangers
Here are just a few of the reasons why California has taken up arms against E-cigs:
- They’re Toxic: E-liquids contain nicotine, flavoring agents and toxic chemicals that have been proven to cause serious problems like cancer, birth defects and other forms of reproductive harm.
- Easy Access for Children: E-cigarette cartridges and other related products don’t have child resistant caps. A recent CDPH report found there has been a significant rise in calls to poison control centers for kids who were accidentally exposed to e-liquids.
- Bogus Marketing: Despite initially being touted as a method to help traditional cigarette users quit, there is no scientific evidence to prove this. If anything, recent studies have found that E-cigs are preventing people from quitting nicotine use, with some users actually progressing to dual use of tobacco and E-cigarettes.
- More Accessible: The number of stores selling e-cigarettes has nearly quadrupled from 2011 to 2013, rising from 12 percent to 46 percent. And there are fears that, just like cigarettes, store clerks are not doing their due diligence by asking to see photo ID. Without that oversight, these E-cigs can easily fall into the hands of underage smokers.
- Health Risks: Nicotine, the main ingredient in e-liquids, is as addictive as heroin and cocaine. People who smoke traditional cigarettes already have a hard enough time breaking their nicotine habits; adding E-cig juice to the problem will only make it worse.
It’s essential to find out all you can about the dangers of E-cigs and the chemicals contained within the supposedly “safer” nicotine juice. And California is working to make sure that’s exactly what smokers do.
“Our advertising campaign is telling the public to ‘wake up’ to the fact that these are highly addictive products being mass marketed,” concluded Dr. Smith.
If you know someone who uses E-cigarettes, educate them about the dangers of these products. Suggest that they quit and offer support in doing so. But if they insist on continuing to smoke, you can at least urge them to keep these products out of the reach of children and away from any items that could be contaminated by the nicotine juice.
Additional Reading: Smoking Can be a Real Pain…in the Back?
Image Source: en.wikipedia.org