Tobacco Prevention and Control:
Electronic cigarettes, especially use among youth, are a significant public health concern. Use of electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes, is rapidly increasing among middle and high school students. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of students who use electronic cigarettes more than doubled from 2011 to 2012. Additionally, the number of adults who have tried an electronic cigarette has nearly doubled since 2010. Unlike conventional cigarettes, these electronic versions do not burn tobacco. Instead, users inhale vaporized liquids containing nicotine and other chemicals.
The medical community does not yet fully understand how e-cigarettes impact the health of users and those exposed to vapors. E-cigarettes are also unregulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and their use is not defined as “smoking” in the Freedom to Breathe provisions of the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act (MCIAA). However, studies show that vapors from some e-cigarettes contain harmful chemicals known to cause cancer, and nicotine, which may be highly addictive and negatively impact adolescent growth and brain development. Until more is known about the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes, it cannot be assumed they are safe for their intended use:
- Without proper regulation by the FDA, it’s difficult to know how much nicotine or other harmful, cancer-causing chemicals users are exposed to during use.
- There is not enough information to know if e-cigarettes are successful smoking cessation aids, or if they are healthier than conventional cigarettes or other tobacco products.
- E-cigarettes undercut smoke-free policies, which have a community-wide public health benefit.
- E-cigarettes may serve as a gateway for young people or non-smokers to try conventional cigarettes and other tobacco products known to cause disease and lead to premature death.
- They are being extensively marketed to young people.
For more information:
American Legacy Foundation
- About one in five US adult cigarette smokers have tried an electronic cigarette
- Electronic Cigarette Use among Middle and High School Students