Lack of e-cigarette regulations leaves unknown health effects

While electronic cigarettes have gained popularity in recent years as a healthier alternative to traditional combustible cigarettes, the long-term health effects are still unknown and may be detrimental, according to health experts.

The United States’ most popular brand of e-cigarette, the Juul, was created to help adult smokers quit, though it has become most popular among teenagers and young adults. Its single-use cartridges contain nicotine salt as well as various flavors. In a 2018 study by Truth Initiative, a tobacco control organization, 10 to 11 percent of 15-21 year olds reported that they currently use a Juul. Health experts such as the American Academy of Pediatrics are calling for better regulation of e-cigarette use, in light of the lack of knowledge on long-term health effects and the way companies market to younger people.

According to Benton County Health Department Health Policy Specialist John Ruyak, a current issue with e-cigarettes is that they are largely unregulated.

“This is an industry that is not well regulated, so we don’t have a consistent way to test the products. There is no consistent way to know what is in the products and if they are labeled correctly,” Ruyak said.

According to Ruyak, switching from combustible cigarettes to e-cigarettes can lead to a reduction in short-term health problems. However, there are potential health risks associated with e-cigarette use by itself. Long-term health impacts are not known due to the short amount of time that these products have existed.



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