E-Cig Debate: Smoking Bans and Second Hand Exposure

E-Cig second hand nicotine

There is a hot debate on E-Cigs due to recent smoking bans in New York City and current research that addresses second-hand exposure. More cities may follow suit in such E-Cig bans as part of a growing trend to keep nicotine usage out of public places. North Dakota, New Jersey and Utah already have E-Cig bans in place where smoking is currently illegal, while Chicago and Los Angeles are considering similar bans. People who support such bans say that allowing E-Cig users to smoke in public places promotes unhealthy habits and possible unknown risks to the public. Opponents say the E-Cigs may help people quit smoking and that they do not contain the same nasty chemicals regular cigarettes emit.

James Gennaro, a city councilman that co-sponsored the bill in New York, mentioned that manufacturers of the E-Cigs are promoting these alternatives as much safer than regular cigarettes, but there is no research backing these statements up. James said he was concerned about the whole idea of smoking in public places with E-Cigs, whether they look like the real thing or not, because it may send the wrong message to children. These acts make it seem like smoking is re-normalized and sends the wrong message to the public. Many people agree with James in fears that minors may also take up E-Cig smoking and then possibly graduate on up to real cigarettes when they develop a strong need for nicotine.

This reverse effect, such as starting from E-Cigs to regular cigarettes, should be researched and evaluated. People who are concerned that this could potentially happen, especially with minors, seem to have fears that are warranted for health researchers to look into. Sure, it may help previous smokers cut down and possibly stop smoking. But what are the risks of those who start on the other end of the smoking spectrum? It is known that nicotine addictions start small and the need for more grows.  Can E-Cigs be a potential risk for furthering stronger nicotine needs or not?

Another new concern that has popped up from recent research is from second-hand exposure from E-Cig vapors. A new study has found that nicotine is still released from the vapors, although the nicotine that is released is 10 percent less than regular cigarettes, with no other chemicals released compared to burning tobacco. The data that was published in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research contained two studies from three different brands of E-Cigs. Scientists evaluated the emissions from the E-Cig vapors while a “smoke machine” smoked the cigarettes.

A second current research project also showed that E-Cig smokers are not as safe as they thought. This study showed that E-Cig users actually puffed more often and inhaled deeper, resulting in more nicotine absorption than they would smoking a regular cigarette. Thus, higher nicotine intake may be a potential risk for E-Cig users.

Both studies it show that there is a lot more to learn about the effects and risks of the smoker and those around them. E-Cigs are currently not regulated by the FDA, but there is a proposed rule that will give them a bit more power in regards to usage safety. So the E-Cig debate will continue in regards to any future smoking bans, research into second-hand exposure, and smoker risks.

By Tina Elliott

USA Today



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