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Let’s Continue to Support Clean Indoor Air

There has recently been a movement in several counties across the state to include electronic cigarette products in Clean Indoor Air laws.  Yellowstone, Missoula, and Ravalli counties, among others have recently taken on this issue.  The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association encourages the inclusion of these nicotine delivery products (e-cigarettes and others) in clean indoor air laws and policies. 

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hero_image_alt_text===A persons hands holding a traditional cigarette and an e-cigarette
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thumbnail_alt_text===A persons hands holding a traditional cigarette and an e-cigarette

An e-cigarette is made up of several components, most of which are not regulated by the FDA.  In essence, manufacturers can put in a plethora of chemicals in addition to addictive nicotine.  There have been some studies to show evidence of formaldehyde in the aerosol produced by e-cigarettes.  In May 2016, the FDA issued new regulations over vape pens, refillable vaporizers and e-juices. The new rules made it illegal to sell the products to minors, banned free samples and required warning labels.  However, these rules fall short of banning flavors that appeal to children such as root beer float and cotton candy.  Traditional cigarettes are banned from using flavors other than menthol.  Additionally, there are no rules around advertising for e-cigarettes. 

In 2015, about 60 percent of Montana’s high school seniors reported having tried e-cigarettes, with 36 percent reporting using the product within 30 days of taking the 2015 Montana Youth Risk Behavior Survey.  This is especially troubling as nicotine can adversely affect the brain as teens physiologically are still developing and creating coping mechanisms.  When teens use these products, they are more susceptible to becoming addicted.  More than 80% of long term smokers start before the age of 18. 

Allowing the use of electronic nicotine devices in public spaces normalizes use of the products and poses a risk to others.  Please support public health and encourage your local lawmakers to include these products in clean air laws.  For more information reach out to me, Amanda Cahill, amanda.cahill@heart.org

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