Letter to the editor: Electronic cigarettes are dangerous to health

To the Editor:

A recent opinion article in the Current contained misleading claims about e-cigarettes. It offered a flawed argument for not including them in the new tobacco-free campus policy that protects all students and staff starting in January.

A growing number of studies raise concern about the health risks of using battery-operated devices that heat flavorings and turn them into aerosol that is then inhaled into the lungs.  The aerosol contains heavy metals, volatile compounds and tobacco-specific nitrosamines along with a whole host of chemicals—many known to cause cancer.  Secondhand exposure occurs when the user exhales the aerosol and a nonuser breathes it in.

The vast majority of these products contain nicotine. Nicotine is derived from tobacco. Therefore, these products are tobacco products and should be regulated as such, including prohibiting their use in all public places where tobacco use is prohibited. That’s why the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) applauds American River College for joining hundreds of colleges nationwide in adopting a comprehensive tobacco-free campus policy.

Unregulated use of e-cigarettes also has the potential to result in smoking becoming socially acceptable again, undoing decades of work that has drastically reduced smoking rates and corresponding deaths from tobacco-related diseases.

Don’t listen to industry hype.  Check out the state’s health advisory at www.cdph.ca.gov.

Jim Knox, Vice President, Government Relations California,
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Inc.

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