E-Cigarettes and Clean Indoor Air

Electronic cigarettes, or “e-cigarettes”, are battery powered devices that heat a liquid solution and produce an aerosol for inhalation.    E-cigarette liquid contains various chemicals and comes in different flavors including cherry, chocolate, and candy flavors.  Most e-cigarette liquid also contains a concentrated nicotine solution derived from tobacco. 

 E-cigarette use has increased dramatically among both adults and youth over the last several years.  A recent CDC study found that e-cigarette use more than doubled in youth from 2011 to 2012.  Another CDC study has shown that e-cigarettes use has tripled among youth who do not smoke.  There is currently no scientific evidence to support the safety of e-cigarettes or the aerosol they emit.  The FDA has not approved e-cigarettes as a cessation device and the Vermont Department of Health does not support the use of e-cigarettes for quitting smoking. 

E-cigarettes are currently unregulated by the FDA and possible health risks are significant for both users and non-users.   

E-cigarettes release chemicals and particles into the air.      

    • E-cigarette use in enclosed, indoor spaces has the potential to concentrate the released airborne chemicals, increasing health risks for bystanders.
    • FDA analyses of e-cigarette samples have detected known carcinogens in e-cigarettes, including propylene glycol (a carcinogen found in anti-freeze), nitrosamines, formaldehyde, benzenes, , and several heavy metals.
    • The ultrafine particles in e-cigarette aerosol dissolve into lung tissue, potentially causing or aggravating existing respiratory conditions. 

 E-cigarette use in public places threatens to normalize or re-glamorize smoking behavior.

    • Children who see e-cigarettes used in public places may perceive them as regular cigarettes, threatening to re-glamorize the act of smoking. 
    • Unregulated e-cigarette use has the potential to create a social norm around tobacco product use at the workplace and in other public areas.  It can also discourage quitting of tobacco by offering smokers an alternate way to get nicotine when they cannot smoke.    

Unregulated e-cigarette use makes it more difficult to enforce smoke-free laws.

    • It can be difficult for employees distinguish between an e-cigarette and a conventional cigarette, creating unnecessary confusion and challenges to enforcing smoke-free laws.

Unregulated e-cigarette use threatens to unravel decades of tobacco control work that has protected the health of Vermont’s residents.  It is vital that lawmakers take immediate action to include e-cigarettes in Vermont’s clean indoor air laws and preserve this work. 

 

Factsheets:

E-Cigarettes and Clean Indoor Air Laws

 

Portion of smoking-related annual health care costs covered by the Vermont Medicaid program: $72 million GET INVOLVED