Department of Health warns against e-cigarette usage at town meeting – So Md News (subscription)

A representative from the Charles County Department of Health delivered a briefing on vaping at the Indian Head town meeting on Monday, warning residents about the potential dangers of the smoking alternative.

Tobacco Program Manager Mary Beth Klick presented “Vaping: More Dangerous Than You Think” in an effort to educate the public about electronic cigarettes and similar devices, offering an open forum for questions and concerns. As the popularity of cigarettes dwindles, Klick is concerned vaping has stepped in to fill the void.

“We’ve done an incredible job of decreasing the amount of people who are smoking,” Klick said. “People have quit, people are never starting, our use rates of cigarettes and tobacco are really low. The problem is … that’s a big money maker for the tobacco industry, they came up with something else.”

Vaping involves inhaling and exhaling water vapor from an electronic device using similar mechanics to smoking a cigarette. The vaporizer heats the desired liquid, often referred to as e-juice or vape juice, and then users access the vapors through the pipe apparatus. The process is tobacco-free and sometimes nicotine-free, but that doesn’t mean e-cigarettes are bereft of harmful substances.

“There are chemicals in the e-juice that none of us would ever eat or drink,” Klick said. “Formaldehyde, heavy metals like nickel. Acetaldehyde, a chemical used in paint strippers. There is no stringent regulation on the e-juices, so no batch is ever the same.”

Klick explained children in particular are attracted to e-cigarettes, as products are marketed with kid-friendly flavors like Skittles, popcorn and cotton candy. Following the state report on tobacco usage, Klick developed a snapshot of Charles County users. As of 2014, 23.1 percent of high school students and almost 10 percent of

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