Tennessee health department’s concern over e-cigarette risks grows

Lexington bans e-cigarettes in bars, restaurants_17950

The Tennessee Department of Health is increasingly concerned about the health impacts of e-cigarettes. 

In an update to a public health advisory on electronic cigarettes, TDH says “recent federal regulatory action” and “new evidence of risks” as the reasons for behind the heightened concern. 

“Growing evidence has raised the level of concern about the serious risks posed by these products to the health of everyone involved, especially children and teens,” said TDH Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH. “Both current and potential users of all electronic nicotine delivery systems should be aware e-cigarettes may create a variety of dangers for the user and for bystanders exposed to the products.”

TDH warns that nicotine is highly addictive and nearly 90 percent of adult smokers started before they were 18 years old. 

The department says evidence suggests e-cigarette use by youth puts them at risk for becoming smokers during adulthood. 

According to TDH, 40 percent of Tennessee high schoolers have tried e-cigarettes. 

The agency also warns of using electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation.

“While electronic nicotine delivery systems are promoted as smoking cessation devices, their safety and effectiveness has not been demonstrated,” said TDH Chief Medical Officer David Reagan, MD, PhD .

TDH says those who try to use e-cigarettes as a tool to quit smoking often continue to use tobacco, making them less likely to quit smoking. 

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