California Officials Declare Vaping E-Cigarettes A Public Health Risk

Electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigs, have been declared a public health hazard by California health officials.

The director of the California Department of Public Health, Dr. Ron Chapman, said that the state is “taking this formal step of warning Californians about the health risks of e-cigarettes,” NBC News reported.

“As we have done with other important outbreaks or epidemics, we are taking this formal step of warning Californians about the health risks of e-cigarettes.”

According to Chapman, e-cigarettes contain a liquid solution, commonly referred to as eLiquid or e-juice, which releases a “toxic aerosol, not a harmless water vapor” when heated.

E-cigs, which the NBC News report indicates are also called “vape pens” and “e-hookahs” are not to be mistakenly correlated with all vaporizers, as they are merely a type of vaporizer. There are many types of vaporizers from those used in the delivery of anaesthetic agents (anaesthetic vaporizers) to vapor-dispersing robots employed by healthcare facilities in the sterilization of rooms.

At least 10 chemicals on California’s official list of carcinogens have been found in the aerosol emit when heating e-juices, according to Chapman who also indicated that “many people” don’t know e-cigs “pose many of the same health risks as traditional cigarettes and other tobacco products” and that the public needs to be educated through facts, not fiction.

“There are myths and misinformation about e-cigarettes and many people do not know that they pose many of the same health risks as traditional cigarettes and other tobacco products […] The public needs more facts, not more fiction.”

Chapman went on to indicate that the “misinformation” includes statements indicating e-cig users are inhaling a harmless water vapor and that the devices will aid tobacco smokers in quitting smoking.

The state of California reported that the number of calls to California poison-control centers which involved children exposed to vaping increased from seven to 154 over the course of two years, from 2012 to 2014.

The NY Daily News report that the head of the American Vaping Association, Gregory Conley, said that there’s “ample evidence that vaping helps smokers quit and is far less hazardous than smoking.”

California Health Officer Ron Chapman indicated that new generations of young people will become nicotine addicts if the products remain largely unregulated. The health official was quoted by the Los Angeles times having said that he advised Californians who are currently using tobacco, to “avoid using e-cigarettes” and that the devices “re-normalize smoking behavior and introduce a new generation to nicotine addiction.”

E-cigarettes, which intend to vaporize a liquid solution which may contain nicotine, differ from traditional cigarettes in that they are electronic devices designed to heat liquid blends to the point of vaporization, not combustion, subsequently releasing vapor instead of smoke.

The state’s report concluded that there was “no scientific evidence that e-cigarettes help smokers successfully quit traditional cigarettes or that they reduce their consumption.”

Gizmodo previously reported that big tobacco’s RJ Reynolds, who owns the Vuse e-cigarette brand, was engaged in lobbying efforts intended to “convince lawmakers to ban vaping.” While this might sound backwards, the report indicated that the company “is almost certainly hoping to stymie the competition” by making sure their own disposable e-cigs pass regulations but the refillable mods do not. The company submit a 119-document to the FDA arguing to ban “open system” vaporizers and flavored products such as e-juice, the Winston-Salem Journal reported.

Do you think electronic cigarettes are less harmful for their users than traditional cigarettes?

[Image via Wikipedia]