Health officials share new risks associated with e-cigarettes

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – State health officials released new risks associated with the use of e-cigarettes and similar devices in an advisory Monday.

The Tennessee Department of Health says the information comes after growing, unbiased, scientific research.

Some of those risks include risk of death, nicotine dependence, and harmful chemicals.

“Some of those products associated with e-cigarettes are known to have adverse health impacts,” said Dr. David Reagan, Chief Medical Officer for the Tennessee Department of Health.

He says there’s also little to no quality control on e-juice, the smoke-able liquid, and on the device itself.

“It’s just kind of the wild, wild west out there and I think that’s why the FDA stepped in and set some rules and regulations,” he said.

The information is timely because many people will try to quit smoking tobacco cigarettes as a New Year’s Resolution. However, Dr. Reagan says using e-cigarettes is not a completely safe way to quit smoking.

“You really don’t know what you’re putting in your lungs,” said Dr. Reagan.

For people like Nishea Frierson, e-cigarettes helped her quit smoking traditional cigarettes.

“For me, I breathe better,” Frierson told News 2. “That smell that’s offensive to people who don’t smoke is not in my clothes or house or in my hair. It tastes better, I feel better.”

The full list of risks that the Tennessee Department of Health includes:

  • Liquid nicotine can be fatal if ingested or absorbed through the skin.
  • Fires and explosions of e-cig devices have been documented to cause painful injuries. Battery-operated devices have been banned in checked baggage by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
  • On Dec. 8, 2016, the U.S. Surgeon General called e-cigarettes an emerging public health threat to the nation’s youth, warning of the dangers of e-cigarette use among youth and young adults.
  • Pregnant women should not use the devices as exposure to nicotine during pregnancy may have negative long-term health effects for a baby.
  • Parents should understand e-cigarette use by teens may create a nicotine addiction and be a gateway to use of conventional tobacco products.
  • Persons should not share e-cigarettes or similar devices; doing so may spread a variety of illnesses. Additionally, the devices have been used to deliver intoxicating agents such as gamma butyrolactone, more commonly known as the date rape drug.
  • Emissions from e-cigarettes may contain a variety of chemicals that may be harmful to both humans and pets.

Click here to read the full advisory from the Tennessee Department of Health.