Today kicks off the Great American Smokeout 2019, an event that’s years strong via the American Cancer’s Society. Its goal: to encourage people to quit smoking. This year will be no different, but the messaging may be. According to the American Cancer Society over 34 million Americans still smoke cigarettes. The recent increase in use of smokeless tobacco or e-cigarettes, especially by young people, has a whole new generation of users addicted to nicotine and in need of a strategy to quit.
Vaping Changes the Smoking Landscape
The introduction of e-cigarettes was largely promoted as a way to quit cigarette smoking. As, Parentology, reported earlier this year the FDA has demanded e-cigarette companies stop making that claim until they provide sufficient scientific evidence to support it. Thus far, they have not.
The American Lung Association will be honoring the Great American Smokeout this year with its own campaign, “Quit, Don’t Switch,” aimed at getting smokers to choose a cessation strategy instead of picking up an e-cigarette.
Stephanie Goldina, national manager, media relations for American Lung Association tells, Parentology, “The e-cigarettes currently in the US marketplace haven’t been systemically reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to determine their impact on lung health. Therefore, we don’t believe e-cigarettes are a way to get adults to stop smoking cigarettes.”
The Truth Behind Vaping
Research shows users of e-cigarettes, especially youth, are more likely to become cigarette smokers. The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine concluded in a recent report that, “There is substantial evidence that e-cigarette use by youth and young adults increases their risk of ever using conventional cigarettes.”
E-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is highly addictive. While they may not have some of the carcinogens found in traditional cigarettes, the other ingredients they’re comprised of are cause for concern. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is currently investigating over 2,000 instances of lung disease and almost 40 deaths caused by vaping. Goldina says, “The Lung Association is also very concerned about the chemicals that are being inhaled into the lungs.”
The Great American Smokeout and other tobacco awareness holidays are a way to build awareness and educate about different FDA-approved cessation strategies proven to help all kinds of smokers quit.
Goldina offers the best prevention is to educate people, especially kids, about the dangers of smoking before they start. “The American Lung Association stands ready to help everyone quit tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, and encourages parents to speak with their kids about the harms of vaping before they start.”
An Action, and Inspiration, Plan
The American Lung Association has a downloadable “Vape Talk” which helps parents talk to teens about the dangers of vaping and “N-O-T (Not On Tobacco)” a 10-week program that helps kids ages 14-19 quit smoking or vaping.
The Great American Smokeout was designed to unite people who have a desire to quit smoking, give them a stop date, as well as strategies for success and support. Though the way Americans smoke may have evolved, the health dangers haven’t. The American Lung Association and American Cancer Society offer support for those who want to quit.
Great American Smokeout 2019: Sources
American Cancer Society
The National Academies of Science, Engineering, Medicine
Stephanie Goldina, National Manager Media Relations, American Lung Association