WAAY 31 I-Team Investigation: What are the health effects of e-cigarette use?

WAAY 31 took our questions about e-cigarettes to the American Cancer Society of Huntsville.

Posted: Nov. 13, 2018 2:35 PM
Updated: Nov. 13, 2018 6:41 PM

This week is the Great American Smokeout, the time once a year that the American Cancer Society asks all smokers to begin their journey toward a smoke-free life in November.

In Alabama, a significant portion of the population smokes cigarettes. Now many people are turning to smokeless options like e-cigarettes believing it's a healthier choice. Huntsville resident, Lindsay Duckworth, told WAAY 31 he started smoking as a child.

"I was a kid, I thought it was cool I suppose and then eventually what happened? I began smoking every day," said Duckworth.

Now Duckworth has a new incentive to kick the habit. He's a father and wants to live a long healthy life for his son.

"I just love being a father and just having someone depending on you," he said.

More than 24 percent of adults smoke in Alabama. That's about one out of every four people. Some of them are turning to e-cigarettes because they believe it's a healthier option.

A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows about of 3.7 percent of American adults use electronic cigarettes or vapor products on a regular basis. That figure represents more than 9 millions adults. WAAY 31 wanted to know if it's really a better choice, so we took our questions to the American Cancer Society of Huntsville. As community development manager, Kaki Morrow explained it's still too early to reach a conclusion.

"There is not enough federal regulation on e-cigarettes. There is not enough studies with long term implications. We do know that smoking can lead to lung cancer and is the cause of 98 percent of lung cancer cases, but we don't really know what kind of long-term effects e-cigarettes have," said Morrow.

Researchers say e-cigarettes are less harmful than traditional cigarettes, but that doesn't mean e-cigarettes are safe. The CDC says e-cigarettes might contain potentially harmful substances including heavy metals, lead, volatile organic compounds and cancer-causing agents.

"I think our generation is going to be the ones to really test out if it's really a healthy alternative or not. I think there is a lot of health risks by doing that, but I just don't know what they are," said Anna Neighbors, who says many of her friends use E-Cigarettes.

Duckworth told WAAY 31 he tried e-cigarettes but is uncomfortable with them until he learns more. In the meantime, he plans to use other methods to quit smoking.

The American Cancer Society has several recommendations as to what it suggests, if you would like to quit smoking. For more information on resources to help you quit smoking, click HERE

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