Airmen around the base are trying to be healthy for themselves and their environment. One way they are doing this is by switching from standard cigarettes to electronic cigarettes.
The Health and Wellness Center is warning smoker’s that e-cigs are not proven to be a safe alternative and may even increase nicotine addiction.
Unlike tobacco, e-cigs are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.
“There is no telling what is in an e-cig,” said Lana Fred, 355th Aerospace Medicine Squadron health educator. “The FDA controls how much nicotine is in each cigarette so you can measure what you put into your body. With e-cigs not being monitored, you don’t know how much nicotine or what chemicals you are inhaling.”
E-cigs are fairly new to the U.S. population so there is no true data to show their long term effects on those smoker and the secondhand vapors.
“No one really knows what this is doing to them,” said Fred. “There is not enough study to show what the e-cigs are doing to your body, whether with nicotine or not.”
Although Airmen believe e-cigs are a healthy alternative, it seems they are becoming another addiction.
“I see more and more Airmen wanting to quit smoking e-cigs,” said Fred. “Some can just quit, while others need to ease themselves off. The problem with e-cigs is Airmen find it harder to remove from their habit.”
Many Airmen find e-cigs more convenient because they are not real cigarettes, they can do it more frequently and they are cheaper. In reality, according to Air Force Instruction 40-102 Tobacco Use in the Air Force, “Tobacco includes, but is not limited to, cigars, cigarettes, electronic-cigarettes, stem pipes, water pipes, hookahs, and smokeless products that are chewed, dipped, or sniffed.” Also, depending on the type and brand of e-cig, they can cost more than regular cigarette use.
“Airmen find this as a more cost effective way to smoke,” Fred said. “Depending on how much they smoke, an e-cig can actually cost more than regular cigarettes.”
There is nothing to prove the e-cigs will or will not cause you damage, but turning to them may not be the best option.
“Neither option is a healthy one,” Fred said. “You are inhaling potential harmful chemicals from both of them”
The HAWC offers a tobacco cessation counselor that can help provide different avenues to help Airmen quit. The clinic can be reached at 228-2294.