Health Department says e-cigarettes are a public health concern - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Health Department says e-cigarettes are a public health concern

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - A device some use to help quit smoking is under fire. This week, the Eau Claire Health Department labeled electronic cigarettes a public health concern.

"They are not changing any city or county policy at this point. It's really just making a statement that there are health concerns with e-cigarette use."

The Eau Claire City/County Health Department's board has taken a stand on e-cigarettes.

"There is nicotine in e-cigarettes, and nicotine is an addictive substance. So it's something from a public health standpoint that we really don't support addiction of any kind," said Lieske Giese, Eau Claire City/County Health Department Director.

A local retailer says he understand the move.

"I agree that the health department has to take a stance on anything that has to do with the public's health, and I don't disagree that nicotine is a harmful and addictive substance," said Kyle Anderson, E-Cig 53 Owner.

Yet he says in selling the e-cigarettes, he is trying to help people pass on puffing real tobacco.

"We provide an alternative. A safer, and a healthier alternative to smoking cigarettes," Anderson said.

The devices are not currently regulated by the FDA. But one man who had smoked regular cigarettes for over 35 years says making the switch has helped him.

I can breathe again, I can smell things I haven't smelled in years. Food tastes so much better to me," said Chris Fetzer of Eau Claire.

"We don't have any research that shows that this will make a difference. So that's really the concern right now, is that people are saying anecdotally that this a way for individuals to stop smoking. But really there is absolutely no evidence that's in literature at this point that shows that," Giese said.

Here is the full statement from the Eau Claire City/County Health Department:

 

E-Cigarettes as a Public Healthconcern

Whereas the Eau ClaireCity-County Health Department has assessment, assurance, and policy developmentresponsibility related to the health of the population in Eau Claire countyand;

Whereas Eau Claire Countyhas had a long standing concern with nicotine addiction and tobacco and theimpact of this on health of the population and;

Whereas e-cigarettes are a newnicotine and other substance vapor delivery device with known addictive substances,and unknown other potential health risks and;

Whereas e-cigarettes are notregulated by any federal agency and;

Whereas e-cigarettes are notproven to be an effective cessation devices while the combination of cessationcounseling and FDA-approved medications is most effective in helping smokersquit and;

Whereas e-cigarettes are notproven to be safe for the user or those around the user and;

Whereas e-cigarettes use is notcovered specifically in the state under Wisconsin Smoke Free Air legislationand is currently also not exempted from coverage and;

Whereas the public healthevidence suggests that e-cigarettes are an appealing product to adolescents whoare at risk of nicotine addiction and;

Whereas one of the most effectiveways to reduce tobacco use is to stop young people from ever starting in thefirst place and we are having success in WI with lowering youth tobacco ratesand;

Whereas chronic diseases such ascancer and heart disease are responsible for millions of premature deaths eachyear and cause Americans to miss 2.5 billion days of work each year, resultingin lost productivity totaling more than $1 trillion;

NOW, therefore be it resolvedthat the Eau Claire City-County Health Department Board of Health stands insupport of existing policy that supports smoke-free air in public places andongoing research related to impact of e-cigarettes on nicotine addiction andtobacco cessation.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I havehereunto set my hand this 26th day of March, 2014.

_____________________________________________________________

Signature

Eau Claire City-County Health Department Board of Health President 

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