This World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) May 31, 2020, Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) is highlighting that the use of tobacco products or electronic cigarettes by adults and youth cannot be considered safe.
WNSWLHD Smoking Cessation Coordinator, Nakarri Ferguson, said “Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are devices which produce a vapour that the user breathes in, simulating the act of cigarette smoking".
“It is important that people are aware of the risks associated with e-cigarette use".
The assumption that e-cigarettes are a safer alternative to tobacco smoking with minimal health consequences is problematic.
“People need to be aware that e-cigarettes are unregulated and we do not know what health risks they may pose.
“E-cigarettes have been found to contain a range of toxins such as heavy metals and cancer causing substances such as formaldehyde, as well as particulate matter that can damage the lungs." Ms Ferguson said.
A particular concern that is being raised by the World Health Organisation for this year's WNTD, is the marketing of e-cigarettes to children and young people.
“Many e-cigarette liquids come in flavours that are attractive to young people such as fruit and confectionary flavours.
“There are fears that e-cigarette use could normalise smoking behaviour and that young people who use e-cigarettes may be more likely to go on to use regular cigarettes." Ms Ferguson continues.
It is estimated that 8.1% of the population of NSW smoke e-cigarettes. Of particular concern is that the NSW School Students Health Behaviours Survey revealed that 12.9% of NSW secondary school students had used an e-cigarette at least once and 3.9% had used e-cigarettes in the previous four weeks.
WNSWLHD Environmental Health Manager, Timothy Brokenshire, said, “As with other cigarette products adults can legally purchase and use e-cigarettes which do not contain nicotine. However, it is illegal for cigarette products including e-cigarettes to be sold to a person under the age of 18yrs".
For support to quit smoking call the Quitline on 13 78 48, or visit www.icanquit.com.au
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