Electronic cigarettes are a field of unknowns, but that doesn’t detract from the potential risks and concerns they raise. While some sources claim electronic cigarettes can assist in tobacco cessation, others are weary they may fall into the hands of youth and lead to other tobacco products.
While at the 2018 CHEST Annual Meeting in San Antonio, TX, Jackie Hayes, MD, pulmonary and critical care physician at Brooke Army Medical Center, reiterated some of the concerns associated with electronic cigarettes with MD Magazine® in addition to highlighting comorbidities associated with tobacco use.
MD Mag: Should there be concern for electronic cigarette use in young individuals?
Hayes: I think the use of electronic cigarettes by young people is a significant issue. One of the concerns is the safety and the potential harm to young people, but an even bigger concern is their [electronic cigarettes] potential as a gateway device to smoking traditional or tobacco cigarettes.
We are seeing an increase in the incidence of individuals—young people—who use electronic cigarettes becoming smokers. So that is 1 concern—that it may not reduce the overall incidence of the use of tobacco cigarettes. [Another concern is] over time, it may recruit or encourage young people to smoke tobacco cigarettes, and therefore; lead to the risk of illness as they grow older.
Tobacco is 1 of the major killers, major ideologies of multiple illnesses to include—cardiovascular disease and lung disease. I think its contributions to those disorders is quite significant and leads to many patients having an early onset of disease and early mortality. I think those issues are the biggest concerns.
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