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Medwatch-Dangers of e-cigarettes

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) -If you were once a cigarette smoker but switched to e-cigarettes thinking they were better for you, they may be doing just as much harm to your body as regular cigarettes.

If you think using e-cigarettes is a safe alternative to smoking regular cigarettes, think again, because this has not been proven. What we do know for sure is the substance that nicotine is dissolved into, 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 carbonyl…all of which are carcinogenic compounds. So no, probably not a good idea," said Dr. Richard Brittingham, an internist at Comanche County Memorial Hospital.

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. 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 said.

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

In other heart month news, mark your calendar for the healthy heart screenings which will be held on Feb. 29 and March 1 from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the Oakwood Conference Center. The screening is $20 and includes A1C, good, bad and total cholesterol, triglycerides and heart risk assessment. To make an appointment, call 580-585-5406.

The Good Hearted Woman luncheon will be held on Monday, Feb. 29, at 11:30 a.m. in the Maple Conference Room. The cost is $5 and cardiologist Dr. Woodson will be speaking about women and heart disease. To make a reservation call, 580-585-5406.

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