Cigarettes: Parents and School Officials Wonder About E-Cigarettes

Cigarettes

As children around the country head back to school, parents and school officials may be concerned and wondering about the safety of electronic cigarettes. The electronic cigarette consists of some type of heating element like a battery, for example, that converts nicotine into a vapor that the smoker then inhales. Since electronic cigarettes do not contain tobacco, many believe that the effects are not as harmful as smoking regular cigarettes. Recent studies suggest that more data is needed. There are also claims that smoking electronic cigarettes can aid in efforts to quit smoking, however others, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), say not so fast.

Meanwhile, parents and administrators in the Strongsville, Ohio school district are having discussions about banning electronic cigarettes from school property. In Cleveland, Ohio, electronic cigarette smoking is prohibited in public places. In fact, a growing number of schools around the country are considering policies against the smoking of electronic cigarettes on school grounds. Cathy Callaway, of the American Cancer Society’s Action Network, considers these schools and parents wise to implement some guidelines, at least until more date is available.

President of the American Council on Science and Health, Dr. Elizabeth Whelan, believes firmly that it is the smoke from cigarettes that causes harm rather than nicotine. Others, like Dr. Tarun Weeramanthri, Public Health Executive Director of Western Australia’s Department of Health, are not so quick to agree. Nicotine, it seems, is highly addictive. It can cause harm to developing fetuses. and there have been reports of nicotine poisoning when ingested or absorbed through the skin.

In the meantime, the FDA has expressed some concerns about the use of electronic cigarettes. The FDA regulates the use of cigarettes and other tobacco products, but because electronic cigarettes contain no tobacco, the agency has been mostly silent on the issue. That has all changed now as it has been proposed that manufacturers be subject to FDA regulations regarding product marketing and research. Companies would not be allowed to make claims that electronic cigarettes aid in smoking cessation efforts unless the claims are supported by data.

Also being discussed are minimum age restrictions for purchasing electronic cigarettes. This should be good news for parents and school officials wondering about restricting electronic cigarettes in schools. Manufacturers may even be encouraging students to take up “vaping,” as it is called, by offering electronic cigarettes flavored with things like fruit and chocolate.

One thing that is certain is that there is not enough data available on the subject. Many argue that electronic cigarettes are not as harmful as regular cigarettes, but there are many others who argue the contrary. A lot of electronic cigarette opponents do not think that they help people quit smoking, and argue that they could serve as a gateway to smoking tobacco or using other substances. Proponents, however, suggest that electronic cigarettes are perfectly safe and that they do help people quit smoking. With all the controversy around this issue, school officials and parents concerned about students bringing electronic cigarettes to school should at least pause and get the facts before accepting either side at face value.

By Constance Spruill

Sources:
USA Today
American Council on Health and Science
ABC
Fox2Now
Science20
Cleveland
Journal of Addiction Medicine

7 Responses to "Cigarettes: Parents and School Officials Wonder About E-Cigarettes"

  1. Piper   August 11, 2014 at 7:40 am

    The most false statement in this article that NEEDS to be corrected is that e-cigarettes don’t contain tobacco. Nicotine comes from the tobacco plant. Common cigarette tobacco is known scientifically as Nicotiana tabacum. The tobacco in cigarettes comes from the leaves– the nicotine stimulant is produced in the roots of the tobacco plants.

    Therefore– nicotine IS tobacco. Current laws and regulations refer to the tobacco plant most often, and nicotine comes from said plant. Therefore, the products that contain nicotine should be treated as tobacco products.

    There’s a whole other argument to be made against the safety of the devices, which are known to blow up, start fires, and are capable of heating to aerosolize other liquids, like bleach, ammonia, and weed, just for starters. Without regulation, we’re legalizing pocket-sized bongs.

    Reply
    • Heimchen Dtf   August 11, 2014 at 9:45 am

      If people would use the original plugs that come with the device charger then most of those accidents would never had happenned. And nobody leaves electronic equipment while charging without surveillance. Besides that, how many people died because of smoking in their beds after fallin asleep with the burning cigarette ?

      There are for years so called vaporizers for herbs on the free market, also pocket sized, which are used for whatever is in your phantasy. In common e-cigarettes you cannot vape anything like dry herb or oily liquid, they are not made for such stupid things, only for specially made e-liquid. Everything else would spoil the whole e-cigarette.

      What concerns the nicotine in its standalone and pharmaceutical form: How comes that exactly the samce pharmaceutical nicotine which all those NRTs are made from (gums, patches, inhalers) are not treated as tobacco products as well?

      Reply
  2. freedomofspeechimamerican   August 11, 2014 at 6:56 am

    Everyone like the flavors it’s what makes you quit that old tobacco taste after smoking for
    years the flavored e-cigarettes have me breathing in pineapple vapor. I no longer spit
    out blood from smoking and I gained all my weight back after being a long time smoker.
    I remember buying cigarettes in a machine for $1:50 when I was in Jr High after years
    of smoking finally the flavored pineapple vapor with the nicotine has me quit smoking cigarettes for life.
    I just gave a BLU e-cigarette to a my friends mother for the first time she can
    do something like smoking, she is in her late 70’s still smoking and the vapor cigarette
    from BLU will eventually move her to BLU cherry then she will be a vapor for life, it will
    extend and enrich the rest of her life with good flavor its the fruit flavors that make you
    want to quit and the physical pain of smoking after years it usually kills you but there
    is a savior it’s fruit flavored e-cigarettes don’t get rid of them they save lives.
    I don’t want to spit out blood again e-cigarettes saved my life ! Everyone seems to say the same thing !

    Reply
  3. Heimchen Dtf   August 11, 2014 at 3:07 am

    Quote: [Proponents, however, suggest that electronic cigarettes are perfectly safe]
    This quote is ridiculous: Nobody would suggest it as perfectly safe. Where did you get that from (a serious source would be helpful).
    Nicotine as itself (without combusting with tobacco) has been already proved not as addicitve as thought, only with tobacco-smoke.
    Tobacco cigarettes have thousands of ingredients and carcinogene toxicants, already proven, which causes diseases and death.
    There has been no proven disease or death proven from e-cigarettes or liquid.
    Quote: [A lot of electronic cigarette opponents do not think that they help people quit smoking, and argue that they could serve as a gateway to smoking tobacco or using other substances]
    Is there any data showing that nonsmokers or young people who never smoked, started smoking tobacco cigarettes after having tried an e-cigarette? In all studies and analyses, there is not one data proving your statement.
    If I had a child who smokes tobacco cigarettes and just couldn’t quit the bad habit, I would gladely give him such a less harmful alternative.

    Reply
  4. Pippin   August 11, 2014 at 1:01 am

    I totally agree that there is a great need for more data and research on them. But one thing I haven’t seen mentioned is all of the chemicals in regular cigs that aren’t in e-cigs. In my humble opinion that is a major issue. I realize that nicotine is addictive and should have an age limit just like regular cigs. I would also like to see a some study done on “second hand vapor”. I don’t think it would be harmful to those around you. I haven’t quit smoking but I have gone from two packs a day to less than one. I think that is healthier for my lungs and definitely cheaper on my wallet.

    Reply
    • Heimchen Dtf   August 11, 2014 at 2:51 am

      There are already over 160 studies on e-cigarettes published over the last 10 years, and of course also on “second hand vapor”, which doesn’t exist of course,because there is no sidestream-smoke. No carcinogens were found in exhaled vapor only PG/VG and negligable amount of nicotine. Always in comparison with the values found in tobacco cigarettes.

      Reply
  5. Glen Appleton   August 10, 2014 at 6:47 am

    Quote: [Others, like Dr. Tarun Weeramanthri, Public Health Executive Director of Western Australia’s Department of Health, are not so quick to agree. Nicotine, it seems, is highly addictive. It can cause harm to developing fetuses. and there have been reports of nicotine poisoning when ingested or absorbed through the skin.]

    As it turns out, absent the reinforcing effects of MAOIs present in combustible cigarette smoke, nicotine is likely not as addictive as originally thought. This has been suspected for quite some time, as the use NRTs (gum, patches, lozenges) were introduced into the market to aid in smoking cessation. When you review the raw data on the effects of nicotine on the human body, the profile is very similar to caffeine, providing short term physical and cognitive stimulative effects.

    As for the danger of nicotine poisoning by absorption, that would require a concentration that is much greater than even the strongest vapor liquid (at 4.8%). I have never seen any statistics that would support this is an actual concern, and I doubt there have been any incidents to date.

    Quote: [One thing that is certain is that there is not enough data available on the subject. Many argue that electronic cigarettes are not as harmful as regular cigarettes, but there are many others who argue the contrary.]

    So, then the question I have is, how much available data is enough? The data that we do have with the published and peer-reviewed studies show that vapor products are orders of magnitude safer than the products they are designed to replace (combustible cigarettes). Every study that has made contrary claims has been debunked and discredited during review by very prominent scientists in the harm reduction and public health fields.

    This new technology introduced by vapor products has the potential to complete eliminate the act of burning tobacco, and all the health issues that come with it. That is, of course, only if the moneyed interests, anti-public-health groups, and those with other agendas, get out of the way and allow it to happen. The only appropriate regulation would be that which is already applied to caffeine products, which to date, is none.

    Reply

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