The truth about e-cigarettes

E-cigarettes, or “vaping”, has been marketed and sold as a better alternative to traditional smoking. However, this statement has clouded the other health concerns and problems that exist with the product. Read on to learn more about vaping, and what you need to be aware of. 

What are e-cigarettes?

E-cigarettes are devices that heat a liquid into an aerosol that the user inhales. The liquid usually has nicotine and flavoring in it and other additives. The nicotine in e-cigarettes and regular cigarettes is addictive. E-cigarettes are considered tobacco products because most of them contain nicotine, which comes from tobacco.

Besides nicotine, e-cigarettes can contain harmful and potentially harmful ingredients, including:

  • ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs
  • flavorants such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to serious lung disease
  • volatile organic compounds
  • heavy metals, such as nickel, tin, and lead

While the levels of carcinogens are lower in e-cigarettes than traditional cigarette smoke, the added toxins in the e-cigarette liquid may produce adverse health consequences. Additionally, some side effects associated with the long term use of e-cigarettes may not be known as of late, since the product is fairly new to the market. 

Myths about e-cigarettes

One of the biggest marketing ploys is that by using e-cigarettes and other vaping products you will be able to quit traditional smoking more easily. However, there is little evidence to back this up. E-cigarettes still contain nicotine, a highly addictive drug, and in most cases, they contain more than a traditional cigarette.

E-cigarettes should not be thought of as a safer alternative to traditional smoking. Unfortunately, this is the perception that is going around. It has even made its way to younger children, and teens who are at a higher risk for the dangerous health side-effects. 

Youth and e-cigarettes

According to the Surgeon General, the use of e-cigarettes in young people has grown dramatically in the last five years. In 2018, 1 in 5 high school students reported using e-cigarettes in the past month. 

The Surgeon General goes on to explain how harmful nicotine exposure is to the brain during adolescence and young adulthood can cause addiction and harm the developing brain. You may not be aware, but brain development begins during the growth of the fetus in the womb and continues through childhood and to about age 25.         This means that youth and young adults are uniquely at risk for long-term, long-lasting effects of exposing their developing brains to nicotine.

I want to quit, what can I do?

If you're currently using e-cigarettes, or traditional cigarettes, and want real help to quit smoking - Firelands Regional Medical Center can help through our smoking cessation program. 

Anyone can enroll through self-referral by calling an affiliated clinic or through a physician referral. Enrollment is available to anyone at no cost to the patient regardless of their insurance or lack of insurance. For more information, please call 419-557-6550.

What is the procedure for follow-up in the tobacco cessation program?

After the tobacco cessation program receives a completed referral form, the patient will then be contacted by a patient navigator and asked a series of enrollment that will help determine the best program for that individual patient. Programs can include individual counseling, group class, telephonic counseling or a combination. 

Where are programs for tobacco cessation located?

  • The individual counseling takes place at the Center for Coordinated Care at the Hayes/Tyler corner of the Firelands Regional Medical Center main campus, 1221 Hayes Ave., Suite B.
  • The group classes are located at Firelands Regional Medical Center main campus or at Behavioral Health 1925 Hayes Ave.
  • Telephonic counseling is offered through the Ohio quitline (419-557-6553) and can be done at any time.

All of the above classes and visits are conducted by a Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist.

There is also a Freedom from Smoking Class available. This free, 6-week program provides a supportive group environment and teaches a step-by-step method for changing behavior and quitting smoking for long-term freedom. It is located at Firelands Main Campus, 1111 Hayes Avenue, Sandusky. 

  • August 13-September 17, starts at 6:00 p.m.

Registration required by calling 419-557-6151 or emailing tobaccofree@firelands.com.