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Lung Association to Smokers: 'Quit, Don't Switch' to E-Cigarettes

No tobacco product is safe, says the lung heath group

While the e-cigarette industry tells smokers that switching to their products is safer and can help them quit, the American Lung Association is urging the FDA to reject these false quit-smoking claims, and is also urging smokers to "Quit, Don't Switch."

To counter “rampant” misinformation about e-cigarettes, the ALA offers the following:

  • E-cigarettes are tobacco products. No tobacco product is safe, and that includes e-cigarettes. Recent hospitalizations and deaths related to vaping underscore the fact that vaping is in fact harmful.
  • Switching to e-cigarettes does not mean quitting. Quitting means ending your addiction to nicotine, which can be very difficult.
  • The FDA has not found any e-cigarette to be safe and effective in helping smokers quit.
  • Research shows that e-cigarettes contain dangerous metals and toxic chemicals including propylene glycol, heavy metals such as nickel, tin and lead, diacetyl (which can cause a dangerous lung disease often referred to as "popcorn lung"), acrolein (which causes irreversible lung disease) and formaldehyde, known to cause cancer.

"One of the biggest problems with e-cigarettes is that many people have switched to e-cigarettes believing it will help them quit tobacco products, which it doesn't," says Albert A. Rizzo, MD, ALA’s Chief Medical Officer. "Many of them become dual users, meaning they smoke cigarettes when they can and use vaping devices at other times.

"Instead of helping smokers quit,” Rizzo adds, “e-cigarettes have rapidly created another generation addicted to tobacco products by marketing products that appeal to kids, including flavored products like gummy bear, unicorn blood and bubble gum." E-cigarettes are now the most commonly used tobacco product among youth. According to a 2018 CDC study, one of the primary reasons teens use these products is because the candy and fruit flavors are appealing to them.

For years, ALA says, it has been urging the FDA to crack down on the e-cigarette industry’s unproven claims. ALA urges everyone who uses tobacco products to quit using methods that are proven safe and effective by the FDA, including the seven FDA-approved medications and individual phone counseling.

Source: American Lung Associaton, December 4, 2019

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