Teen E-Cigarette Use Raises Red Flags for Health Authorities
by JHANNET SANCHEZ, Reporting Texas
Apr 15, 2014 | 5551 views | 1 1 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Teen E-Cigarette Use Raises Red Flags for Health Authorities

Albert Toca, owner of Ontario Hookah Lounge on East Riverside Dr., demonstrates the how to smoke an E-cigarette. Photo by Jhannet Sanchez.

Albert Toca, owner of Ontario Hookah Lounge on East Riverside Drive, demonstrates how to smoke an e-cigarette. Photo by Jhannet Sanchez.

By Jhannet Sanchez

For Reporting Texas

A growing percentage of U.S. teenagers is trying electronic cigarettes, and that has health authorities worried, even as some retailers salivate over a new market.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in late 2013 that more than 1.7 million, or 2.8 percent, of middle school and high school students had smoked e-cigarettes in the previous year. That represents an increase from 1.5 percent in 2011.

While teen e-cigarette usage is low compared to the 23.3 percent who use tobacco, the trend is troubling on several levels. There is no government regulation of what electronic cigarettes contain or how they are marketed. Although they contain nicotine, in most areas, the minimum age at which teens can buy the electronic smokes is 16 – two years under the legal age for buying tobacco.

There is no data on the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes, and too little information about the chemicals they contain, said Dr. Michael Huang, medical director of the Austin-Travis County Health and Human Services Department.

“E-cigarettes are the sort of situation that should be guilty until proven innocent,” he said.

The slender, battery-powered devices, some of which look like cigarettes, heat a liquid so that users can inhale the vapor.

E-cigarette sales skyrocketed from $195 million in 2011 to $500 million in 2012 and more than $1 billion in 2013, according to industry reports.

Teens are coming together at so-called vaping lounges where they can socialize, hang out and relax while puffing on e-cigarettes.

One of the new e-cigarette smokers in Austin is 18-year-old Nathan Karethi, a McCallum High School senior. Like many e-cigarette smokers, he likes being able to choose from flavors that include various fruits, chocolate and mint. There’s even one based on horchata, a beverage popular with many Latinos.

“I usually get sweet or bubble gum flavor,” Karethi said.

The flavors raise a red flag for Huang and other health experts.

“There are no regulations regarding what additive chemicals are added to e-cigarettes,” Huang said. “So there are all these different flavors and we don’t know what’s in every different flavor. What chemicals they are adding to these things?”

E-cigarettes contain nicotine and diethylene glycol, an ingredient used in antifreeze, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

E-cigarettes allow users to control how much nicotine they inhale, a potential danger. The nicotine density is listed as the number of milligrams per milliliter in the e-liquid solution. So smokers may put three drops of e-liquid into the cartridge to use a total of 3.6 milligrams of nicotine. Traditional cigarettes vary from 0.7 to 1.7 milligrams each, depending on the brand.

Some e-cigarettes use cartridges that provide 200 to 400 puffs, equal to two to three packs of cigarettes. Other e-cigarettes use refillable tank systems that can last from a few days to a month, depending on their size.

Karethi said he usually uses e-cigarettes when he’s socializing.

“Some teens do it for the buzz or just to look cool,” Karethi said.

The e-cigarette market has been growing steadily since the new smokes were introduced in 2007. The Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association, founded in 2008, is expecting sales to surpass those of traditional cigarettes in just 10 years.

E-cigarettes have attracted the interest of retailers such as Albert Toca, who sells them at the Ontario Hookah Lounge in East Austin, which he opened in February.

“I was hearing testimonies from people who smoke and from smoke shop owners around the city. It’s exciting to be part of an entirely new market,” Toca said. However, he added a caution: “Not enough research has been done on whether there are negative effects from second-hand smoke of e-cigs,” referring to the vapor the devices emit.

Toca said his customers have told him e-cigarettes have helped their social lives.

“Customers are beaming when they talk about their friends and families who are no longer offended by the smell cigarettes leave behind,” Toca said.

It took decades before the federal government regulated cigarettes, after a 1974 Surgeon General’s report outlined the health dangers. Federal regulations have not caught up with e-cigarettes, said Huang.

He is concerned about marketing terms, such as saying that users are “vaporizing” instead of smoking, and assertions that e-cigarettes are tobacco-free, even though they contain nicotine.

Texas does not prohibit stores from selling e-cigarettes to minors. A few cities in Texas do, including Murphy, a Dallas suburb, and the Fort Worth city council is considering it. Richardson requires a special permit to open an e-cigarette venture. Both Travis and Williamson counties ban their use by anyone on county property.





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Robert Copia
April 16, 2014
Levy Thamba was a 19 year old exchange student from Africa, attending college in Wyoming.

On March 11, 2014, while in Colorado with friends, Levy Thamba plunged to his death from a 4th floor hotel balcony, after ingesting cookies laced with marijuana. As of Jan1, 2014, Colorado law allows the purchase of marijuana for “recreational use” for those over 21.

The Medical Examiner listed ”marijuana intoxication” as the contributing factor to the death of Levy Thamba. The investigation did not find evidence of prior drug use or anti-social behavior on the part of Levy Thamba and concluded that the purchase of marijuana was the main reason for the trip. Over 20 states permit ”medical marijuana”, and many states have decriminalized possession of small amounts. Colorado officials admit they gave no thought to the potency or the effects of edible marijuana such as the cookies eaten by Levy Thamba. Decades of research prove that ingesting a large amount of potent marijuana may cause violent, anxious and paranoid behavior.

Across the USA, medical marijuana is being purchased legally and then resold to youth. Young people, emboldened by “decriminalization” and lax law enforcement, are becoming first time users. You might say that a “GATEWAY” has been created.

The, 4/6/2014, Washington Post, reports, “due in part to decriminalization and the large supply of high quality marijuana grown in the USA, Wholesale prices, in the last 5 years, have dropped dramatically. Mexican growers have shifted to growing opium poppies that are turned into heroin, “cheap heroin”. Thus, the number of heroin users in the USA has doubled to 700,000.

The sale of recreational marijuana conflicts with federal law, and the stores could be closed immediately. Medical marijuana could be dispensed in pill or spray form, without the mind altering effects, an even more effective method of delivering the Medical Benefits.

Neither of these actions have been taken and the marijuana business goes on as usual. The campaign for further legalization continues.

On April 14, 2014 Illinois Senator Richard Durbin stepped forward and proclaimed, “WE MUST CLOSE THIS NEW “GATEWAY” TO ADDICTION TO PROTECT OUR CHILDREN”.

Mr. Durbin was not talking about the ill-conceived changes, based on greed, to existing laws concerning marijuana. Changes that are responsible for the death of Levy Thamba and the epidemic of “cheap heroin” . He is talking about a little device consisting of a lithium battery,, like the one in your cellphone but not as powerful, that heats a cartridge that contains a mixture of water, propylene glycol, (a legal product found in food, toothpaste, medicine etc.) that makes the fake smoke, food grade flavoring and about 2% of the mixture is pure nicotine. It is called an electronic cigarette, and should really be called a “personal nicotine vaporizer”. This device has

enabled me, a once hopelessly addicted tobacco cigarette smoker, to be tobacco free for 3.5 years and enjoy drastically.improved health. If the E-Cig was around 20 years ago, perhaps my dear aunt,very intelligent except for her cigarette addiction, could have been spared a horrible passing caused by lung cancer.

Not one of the front line fighters in the “War on E-Cigs “ and the “Campaign of Fear “ directed against 41.1 million Americans addicted to tobacco, has in anyway taken one action or attempt or suggestion to unwind the catastrophe of which the death of Levy Thamba, who was somebody’s son, is a direct result.

There has been one unfortunate death caused by accidental poisoning due to E-Cigs. Ivy the dog got hold of ecig cartridges ate them and died. All of the the dozens of hazardous if ingested items, toothpate, certain plants etc. should be kept out of reach.

A Google search turned up:

73,000 results for “Ivy the dog e-cig poisoning.”

8,000 results for “Levy Thamba marijuana

Who is directing this propaganda campaign against against e-cigs and why?

Bloomberg News 2/19/2014 reports, “ GLAXO Memo Shows Drug Industry Lobbying on E-Cigs”.

Glaxo and Pfizer, 2 pharma giants, sell smoking cessation products, nicotine gum, patches and lozenges that might look like candy to a child. Nicotine inhalers that look like cigarettes, and a spray that contains liquid nicotine along with 6 other chemicals. They also sell anti smoking pills, Zyban (welbutrin) and Chantix. Both are mind altering psychiatric drugs. Both have “Black Box” FDA warnings of dangerous side effects, worsening depression, suicidal thoughts/ actions etc.

Chantix is number one in adverse event reporting to the FDA. These companies are losing business to the ECIG, and they do not like it.

Pharma contributed ELEVEN million dollars to politicians in the 2010-11 election cycle and spends 2.4 billion each year n the MEDIA. Thus the “war on e-cig".

Both Glaxo and Pfizer have plead guilty to civil and criminal charges brought by the US Dept. of Justice regarding illegal promotion of certain drugs and paid fines.

Pfizer $2.3 Billion Sept, 2009

Glaxo $3 Billion July 2012 GLAXO plead guilty to using illegal and fraudulent methods to target children and adolescents through their doctors for the sale of dangerous anti depressants not approved for those under 18.

It seems wherever there is anti- ECIG talk there is Glaxo money.The Center For Public Integrity reported that Gov. Christie attended a fund raiser, in his behalf at the Washington home of Ed Rogers, a powerful lobbyist for Glaxo. At $3800 a ticket Gov. Christie of New Jersey walked away with $$$. Gov Christie is currently trying to get a 98% TAX on ECIGS passed and put them out of business in N.J.

The American Lung Association, BIG ECIG haters. Propublica, public records show $2.1 million from Glaxo in 2011-12 to the American Lung Assoc. ETC. ETC.

Senator Durbins last attempt to take out an enemy of BIG PHARMA, VITAMINS, through the Dietary Supplement Labeling Act, would have put the GOV. between you and your vitamins.

The Durbin Report reveals that the ECIG industry spent 70 billion on advertising and it appears to HIM that they are targeting children.

Big Pharma spends 2. 4 billion with cartoons that show a gray sky turning blue after you take your SECOND anti-depressant. Beer and liquor ads, everywhere you look or listen. The constantly quoted Center for Disease Control reports 4700 KIDS under 21 die each year from “EXCESSIVE Alcohol Consumption” Neither Big Pharma or Big Liquor seem to bother anyone. Michael Jackson died with Valium and Lorezapam in his system ,not nicotine.

It “Appears” that Senator Durbin and the Pharmaceutical Industry have “so much in common that it’s a phenomenon”