Medwatch-Are e-cigarettes safer?

Medwatch-Are e-cigarettes safer?

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) -If you think using e-cigarettes is safer than smoking regular cigarettes...think again, because this has not been proven. But what we do know for sure is that the substance the nicotine is dissolved into, called propylene glycol, is not something you want in your body.

"When that gets heated up for the nicotine to get vaporized, it heats up into acetaldehyde, it heats up to formaldehyde, it heats up into carbonyle…all of which are carcinogenic compounds. So nah, probably not a good idea," Dr, Richard Brittingham, Comanche County Memorial Hospital, explained.

Dr. Brittingham says e-cigarette companies are targeting teens by making these devices attractive in appearance and in flavors such as bubble gum.

"Now we know that the number of people that are smoking regular cigarettes from people that have been using vaping or e-cigarettes, that number is on the rise. So this tells me this is a bad thing for our kids," Dr. Brittingham said.

The results of a study from the "Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics" says in order to help this issue, there would need to be regulations to limit sales and decrease the appeal of e-cigarettes to adolescents and young adults.

"Here you have all these kids vaping that now have a greater risk, a statistical risk, a greater risk of progressing on to smoke cigarettes and everybody knows how bad that is end of story," Dr. Brittingham said.

Dr. Brittingham recommends several treatment modalities for quitting smoking and vaping such as the prescription medication Chantix, nicotine patches and gum, or there is always cold turkey.

"Not very many people are successful at that. Repeated attempts though, we know that the more people try, the more successful they are at actually quitting. Although psychodynamically, it's just the opposite, the more they try the more people feel like I just can't quit, so they just keep on smoking," Dr. Brittingham explained.

If you or someone you know needs help kicking the habit, call the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW, or visit

Comanche County Memorial Hospital will host a smoking cessation course to help smokers quit. The free seven-week course will begin on Tuesday, Jan. 5, at 5:30 p.m. in the Maple Conference Room. To sign up, call 585-5527.

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