Department of Community Health Warns Against E-Cigarettes

By: Anthony Sabella Email
By: Anthony Sabella Email

It's been several years since Coral Gables in Meridian Township kicked the habit.

And unlike other restaurants and bars across Michigan, Stuart Vanis and his management staff didn't wait for a mandate from the state to do it.

"We actually went non-smoking one year prior to the ban," said Vanis, Co-Owner of Coral Gables. "We were finding that more and more of our customers were wanting non-smoking and we were running out of non-smoking space, so we kept making our smoking section smaller and smaller til we said there just isn't room for smoking anymore."

But if the latest trends prove true, it may not be long before Vanis sees a newer type of cigarette inside his restaurant. E-cigarettes have been promoted as a more successful alternative to the nicotine patch in helping people quit smoking and their use continues to skyrocket because of it.

However, the Michigan Department of Community Health says early studies by the Food and Drug Administration show success doesn't necessarily mean safe.

"We have a concern about it not being a safe alternative to a regular cigarette because it does also contain other other chemicals inside of it," said Angela Minicuci, Spokesperson for the MDCH. "There is other testing that needs to be done, but we don't view it as being a safe alternative."

Until more testing is done, the MDCH is promoting other proven safe ways to quit smoking.

"The Michigan Tobacco quit-line, 1-800-quit-now, is a very good tool for people to get free coaching help," said Minicuci. "They can also potentially qualify for free nicotine patches."

Another concern for the department is the fact that there are no laws regarding the sale of e-cigarettes to minors. A recent CDC report shows student use continues to climb.

"This means that youth has the ability to potentially access something that has unknown health effects," said Minicuci.

I went to several stores to see if they're seeing kids buying e-cigarettes, but every place I spoke with said they choose not to sell them to anyone under 18.

In fact, the choice of allowing them at all, falls on restaurants and other businesses, like Coral Gables.

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