Dear Editor: Chances are whether you’re a smoker or not, you have at least heard of the newest gadget produced by the tobacco industry, known as the e-cigarette. This may come as a relief to some who see the smoking rates drastically decreasing, but it is extremely concerning to me as the number of e-cigarette smoking youth has doubled in the past two years. These seemingly harmless objects that produce what the tobacco industry falsely identifies as “vapor” can in fact be detrimental to the health of the smoker and those around them.
The aerosol produced by the e-cigs is made up of ultrafine particles at very high concentrations of nicotine and low levels of toxins known to cause cancer. Not only that but it contains traces of metals including chromium, nickel, and tin nanoparticles. This new fad in the smoking world is concerning to health professionals and parents alike as the industry continues to market to youth by producing products made of hundreds of different flavors like cherry, cotton candy, grape, bubblegum, and the list goes on.
Nicotine-containing products are all alike in the sense that they are addictive and dangerous. My biggest fear is that these e-cigarettes are just another gateway drug to the more addictive substances even if this means just a gateway to real cigarettes. Already 108 municipalities and three states prohibit e-cigarettes in public workplaces. I believe these mandates need to be enacted in Wisconsin.