E-Cigarettes a "Major Public Health Concern"

January 30th, 2017

Often viewed as a safe alternative to smoking cigarettes, e-cigarettes deliver nicotine coupled with flavorings and other additives in an aerosol form. The other additives can contain ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs, flavorants such as diacetyl (a chemical linked to serious lung disease), volatile organic compounds, and heavy metals (such as nickel, tin, and lead). All Americans need to know that e-cigarettes are dangerous to youth and young adults.

E-cigarettes have already quickly taken hold within our communities, and by 2014 they surpassed conventional cigarettes as the most commonly used tobacco product among youth. Any tobacco use, including e-cigarettes, is a health threat, particularity to the youth and young people (youth ages 11-17 and young adult ages 18-24).

The increase in youth markets is largely due to how e-cigarette companies market to young people and their susceptibility. Young people are particularly susceptible to the marketing tactics of these companies. One study showed that among adolescents (13–17 years of age) who had never used e-cigarettes, a single exposure to a set of four televised advertisements for popular brands resulted in significantly greater intention to try e-cigarettes—more than 50% higher! E-cigarettes have been widely promoted on social media platforms such as YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook; most of these social media sites do not require age verification. YouTube is the most popular videosharing website globally and features many e-cigarette videos.

It is up to parents, teachers, health care providers and other leaders to make it clear to the young people of America that e-cigarettes are not safe, they contain many harmful chemicals, and are NOT OKAY for kids to use.

Let me know what you think! Leave comments below.

Dr Mike

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Smoking, Kids, and Cavities

January 11th, 2017

We all know that smoking causes cancer, heart disease, pregnancy complications, and is a major risk factor for periodontal disease (advanced gum disease.)

Recent studies have also linked periodontal disease to increased risk of heart attack, stroke and other serious diseases. Smoking can also affect pint-sized patients who inhale the cigarette exhaust that others puff into the air! A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology takes the first look at the influence of passive smoking on the oral health of children.

Researchers compared children whose parents smoked with kids whose parents did not. The study’s findings revealed that smokers can indirectly harm the oral health of their children! Researchers measured saliva for levels of the chemical cotinine, a major product of nicotine processing, in the body. Cotinine generally stays in the body longer than nicotine. The level in one’s saliva correlates with that in the blood. Children who had been exposed to parental smoking had greater levels of the substance in their saliva than the children whose parents were non-smokers. What’s more, youngsters who had higher saliva levels of cotinine also fared worse on oral dental exams.

Nicotine addiction is a tough habit to break. So if you do smoke, be thoughtful of others and never smoke near children. Obviously, compared to cancer, cavities may seem almost insignificant, but painful tooth decay in children can distract them from their studies, can lead to the loss of permanent teeth or systemic infections and even, in rare cases, death.

Cavities in baby teeth may also lead to long-term problems in adult teeth.

That said, parents and grandparents, next time you need motivation to stop smoking...think about your kids’ and grandkids’ teeth.

Give them something to smile about...your health, and theirs.

Dr Mike


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