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Doctor: E-cigs pose health risks - Ocean City Sentinel: News

Doctor: E-cigs pose health risks

Jenssen says more teens than adults using devices

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Posted: Wednesday, January 15, 2020 11:03 am

GALLOWAY – Dr. Brian Jenssen, a Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia pediatrician, explained during a Jan. 9 presentation that fewer than 5 percent of adults used e-cigarettes but said that more than 25 percent of teens do. 

Jenssen spoke, with Carlo Favretto, Jr., of Atlantic Prevention Resources, at AtlantiCare’s Vaping and E-Cigarettes: A National Youth Crisis presentation at The Carriage House in Galloway.

The event was attended mostly by pediatric and school nurses. 

Jenssen discussed the health impacts of e-cigarette use. 

While cigarette use in teenagers has decreased dramatically, e-cigarette use has increased sharply in the last 10 years. 

Cigarette use peaked in teenagers in the 1970s, when about 40 percent of teenagers regularly smoked, he said.  Fewer than 6 percent of teens smoke today, which Jenssen said was a “huge public health victory.”

The decrease happened following public education campaigns, Surgeon General reports, bans on marketing to children and advertising restrictions. 

E-cigarettes came onto the market in the mid-2000s, but teenage use did not pick up until about 2011. 

In 2018, about three million high school students, or 20 percent, regularly used e-cigarettes, he said. 

It increased 7 percent in about a year.  Jenssen cited 2019 data that showed 27 percent of high school students reported regular use of e-cigarettes. 

“Many of these numbers, these are almost daily users,” he said.

Jenssen also discussed e-cigarette advertising techniques and marketing tactics to appeal to youth.  

He cited a Stanford University analysis of JUUL’s advertisements which analyzed material on the company’s website, social media channels, and other promotional materials. 

It concluded that the idea the product is meant of adult smokers only has “not been congruent in its marketing practices,” he said. 

Jenssen said they did things that “are illegal for tobacco companies to do,” including sponsoring musical festivals and events and offering scholarships to students for essays. 

“The reason you (tobacco companies) can’t do that anymore is because it’s so effective at sucking kids into the product,” he said. 

He also discussed an advertisement that appeared to be a blog article, which he said was “false advertising targeted at health educators.”

The article claimed that vaping is 95 percent healthier than smoking.

“It took 30 years, 40 years to figure out that cigarettes cause lung cancer. To make claims that e-cigarettes are 95 percent safer when we don’t even know what the long term health effects are is woefully inappropriate,” he said. 

Appealing flavors, including fruit flavors and crème brulee, also appeal to children and teenagers. 

He cited one survey that found that, when teenagers were asked why they used e-cigarettes, about 70 percent said it was because of the flavors. 

Jenssen said there is also a false belief among youth that flavored e-cigarettes are safer than tobacco flavors, which he said was not true. 

“When the product first came on the market, they (the e-cigarette industry) made these claims that it was harmless water vapor,” he said. 

“There are harmful toxicants and carcinogens in the emission of these products,” he said. 

This includes heavy metals, volatile organic compounds, formaldehyde, and nicotine.

He discussed a study from Johns Hopkins testing the impact of e-cigarette aerosol exposure on mice.  The exposure was found to impair lung growth in mice, he said. 

Toxicants were also found in the saliva and urine of teen e-cigarette users. 

Some research also seemed to disprove the idea that e-cigarette use helps adults quit smoking cigarettes long-term. 

Jenssen discussed a study that compared smoking cessation rates in two groups; one which used a nicotine replacement therapy and another which used e-cigarettes to quit. 

About 18 percent of people who used e-cigarettes quit, compared to 10 percent in the nicotine replacement group.

However, a year later, 80 percent of those in the e-cigarette group were still using e-cigarettes.  In the nicotine replacement therapy group, 10 percent were still using the nicotine replacement a year later. 

E-cigarettes were also shown to increase asthma risk, seizures, and e-cigarette users have different immune responses than those who do not use e-cigarettes, and there is a new pulmonary syndrome affiliated with use, he said. 

He also discussed a recent report from the American Heart Association which looked at the blood vessel’s ability to respond to pressure changes.  If blood vessels cannot respond to pressure changes, it increases the risk of having a heart attack or a stroke, he said. 

E-cigarettes affected the blood vessels’ ability to respond. 

There is also a new syndrome associated with e-cigarette use, called e-cigarette vaping or use associated lung injury. 

Jenssen said there have been more than 2,500 hospitalized cases in the United States since last June. 

They have seen cases across all 50 states and there have been 55 deaths as a result.

“They look like chemical exposures we used to see in manufacturing workers,” he said. 

“These are patients who end up in the ICU for multiple days, so we don’t know what the long-term effects are,” he said. 

To help youth who are addicted to nicotine, Jenssen suggested audience members ask students questions, to talk to them about quitting, to help them make a plan to quit and connect with treatment programs, and to follow up with them later. 

He suggested the Truth program and My Life My Quit as resources. 

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