Wednesday, July 1, 2015
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Vaping: In 30 years, I don’t want to hear the words, “I didn’t know it was bad for me.”
My father practiced clinical medicine in ENT for 32+ years. I can always remember as a small child my parents telling stories of people from the “Greatest Generation” who were walking around with emphysema and C.O.P.D. Those people were issued cigarettes as part of their equipment upon enlisting. Many of those 18-year-old enlistees really didn’t know it was bad for them, as they were shipped off to Europe, in a boat, to go fight the Nazis. The people that irritated my parents were the people born 50 years later who still somehow claimed not to know that it was bad for them.
Today we are faced with a very similar situation. There is a new group of patients who comes into our office today and when asked if they smoke, they say, “No.” (Think: pursed lips, shaking head). Let me spell this out very clearly for anyone that has not heard this information before. Vaping or using an e-cig is smoking!
“Nicotine is a teratogen (capable of causing birth defects).”1
Your lungs are made for breathing air; if you are putting other things in them, then, you are probably doing some damage, whether that is smog, cigarettes, or propylene glycol.
What’s propylene glycol? I’m glad you asked.
Propylene glycol is what the nicotine is suspended in – this is what people are smoking when they are vaping.
According to a 2010 study by Karlstad University, the concentrations of PGEs (counted as the sum of propylene glycol and glycol ethers) in indoor air, particularly bedroom air, has been linked to increased risk of developing numerous respiratory and immune disorders in children, including asthma, hay fever, eczema, and allergies, with increased risk ranging from 50% to 180%.”2
Austin, TX is a smoke free city. But, our laws are not keeping up with the changing times. Our smoke-free laws need to be amended to reflect the change in circumstances. I went to a movie the other day and someone directly behind me chain-smoked his stupid vape and blew it all over Katie and me for the duration of the movie. Just because you leave the house and go to a movie, restaurant, club, beer garden, bar, etc. does not mean you want to be exposed to those chemicals. The laws are not explicit. No problem, we can fix this!
Right now, our smoke-free law language does not include e-cigs and vaping. 3
Nicotine is highly addictive and I have a right not be exposed to it, unbeknowst to me, just for going out. 4
1.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/ershdb/emergencyresponsecard_29750028.html” accessed on 7/1/15)
2.Wikipedia. “https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propylene_glycol” accessed on 7/1/15
3.Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, “http://no-smoke.org/pdf/ecigslaws.pdf” accessed on 7/1/15
4.National Institute of Health, “http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/tobacco/nicotine-addictive” accessed on 7/1/15
Wednesday, July 1, 2015