The 2015 Utah Prevention Needs Assessment youth survey shows a 300 percent increase in teens using electronic cigarettes, surpassing alcohol as the most commonly abused drug among youth. According to the Southwest Utah Public Health Foundation 2016 Winter Health publication, from 2013 to 2015, the 30-day use rate of e-cigarettes among high school seniors increased from 3.6 percent to 14.3 percent.
“I don’t remember the data ever showing such a sharp rise in the use of one drug in such a short period of time. The scariest part about this trend is that youth are smoking more than just nicotine through these devices.” said Logan Reid, director of prevention at Southwest Behavioral Health Center.
There are 3 main reasons why the Southwest Utah Public Health Foundation is saying e-cigarettes pose risks to health. First, according to the report, vapor emits chemicals into the user’s bloodstream that are used in antifreeze and heavy solvents and exposes users to cancer-causing metals such as lead, nickel, formaldehyde, benzene and isoprene. Second, e-cigarettes turn kids into addicts. Third, big tobacco knows they are losing customers to traditional tobacco; 95 percent of lifelong tobacco users start around 14 years old. EC’s are the new way to ensnare youth into a life of addiction. The study states that companies target this group with cool devices, tasty juices, and advertising that appeals to kids.
The owner of GoVapors in Cedar City, Layne Sorden, said, “Our industry has been scrutinized to the point where articles and gossip are now all being fired from the hip. All the latest ‘supposed’ studies I have seen about popcorn lung, child marketing and formaldehyde are nothing more than an attempt to hurt people, gain back tobacco taxes and protect the tobacco industry. The popcorn lung study was caused when ejuice contained the ingredient Diacetyl which has never been in our ingredients and was eliminated in almost all vape products in the last few years. The formaldehyde study was done when an e-cigarette was modified beyond human use to put over 1,300 degrees to produce the chemical. Industry products put out less than half of that temperature.”
In addressing child prevention, Sorden said, “it has been hands down heavier combated by the vape organizations than the tobacco companies ever dreamed of.”
“On a personal note, it is troubling to hear our local, state and federal government agencies have no regard for the lives we are helping,” Sorden added. “They don’t see the faces of our tobacco cancer survivors when they come to us for help and their lives are changed. They don’t see moms and dads no longer filling their children’s lungs with second hand smoke. Tobacco is an addiction and being an addict myself for 17 years, I understand what these people are going through. We all pay the same taxes and I’m tired of these agencies attacking us for more money. We are here to help smokers, not start kids on a new addiction.”
E-cigarettes can help smokers and their families. Some studies show they may not pose as big a health risk to others through second-hand inhalation as traditional cigarettes and may even help smokers who are trying to overcome addiction.