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Which Tobacco Products Are Safe? Answers to E-cigarette Questions

Which Tobacco Products Are Safe? Answers to E-cigarette Questions

Over 1,000 HR benefit leaders have watched our “5 Things Employers Need to Know Now about E-cigarettes” webinar.

In case you missed it (or as a refresher if it’s been a few months), during our webinar, we shared what we know about e-cigarettes, what we’re learning… AND what we don’t know. We talked about:

  • What e-cigarettes are (and aren’t)
  • Effects of e-cigarettes on adults and children
  • Can e-cigarettes serve as a cessation aid?
  • Why e-cigarette users need tailored support to quit
  • Workplace smoking policy issues related to e-cigarettes

We fielded many great questions from HR professionals and benefits managers, who wanted to understand the science of e-cigarettes and which tobacco products are safe. Many also wanted to make sure they’re putting the right tobacco-free workplace policies in place for their employees.

Several questions asked during our webinar related to the intersection of nicotine and addiction when it comes to e-cigarettes. Let’s tackle 3 big themes:

  1. What makes nicotine so dangerous?

Nicotine is addictive, and that’s true of both cigarettes and e-cigarettes.

It is particularly harmful for adolescent brain development, which continues until around age 25.

Exposure to nicotine in young people can impact learning, memory, and attention, and lead to increased impulsivity, mood disorders , and addiction to other drugs.

Simply put, young people should not use nicotine (whether they’re your employees, or your employees’ children).

  1. What makes nicotine use among young people dangerous?

I’ve heard many hopeful HR folks ask, “But what about nicotine-free e-cigarettes? What if my employees are using those?” The reality: 99% of e-cigarettes sold in convenience and similar stores contain nicotine, including all JUUL products (the market leader of e-cigs).

What’s more, e-cigarettes are not currently regulated the same way other tobacco products are, making it hard for consumers to know exactly what they are getting. A product may be marketed as being nicotine-free, but may actually contain nicotine, or contain varying amounts of nicotine each time a consumer buys it.

Bottom line: Odds are good that the e-cigarettes around your workplace contain nicotine, despite the hope that nicotine-free products exist as a benign hobby.

  1. If e-cigarettes help smokers quit, shouldn’t it be OK for smokers to keep using them?

During our webinar, we discussed that for some smokers, sometimes, e-cigarettes might be an option. We also discussed that for more smokers, more of the time, a combination of skill-building tools and coping strategies, social support, and FDA-approved medication is the winning combination.

Recent research of a nationally-representative sample of adult e-cigarette users found that most e-cigarette users want to quit: 62% of e-cigarette users reported plans to quit e-cigarettes for good. You can support everyone at your workplace with a cessation program that meets all their unique needs.

Interested in seeing a demo of tailored support provided through the EX Program to help smokers, e-cigarette users, and parents of kids who vape? Connect with us and let’s start a conversation.

See additional responses to questions asked during our webinar:


Megan Jacobs
Megan Jacobs, MPH

Managing Director of Product, Innovations

Megan Jacobs is responsible for the design, delivery, and evaluation of the EX Program. Most recently, Jacobs led the EX Program team responsible for the first evidence-based text messaging program to help e-cigarette users of all ages quit. She formed her expertise in mHealth interventions and public health campaigns with her work at the University of Michigan Health Service, DC Department of Health, and the National Vaccine Program Office. Her public health work over the past 15 years has applied technology to behavior change ranging from adolescent sexual health to vaccinations. Jacobs received her Master of Public Health from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University and is also a graduate of the University of Michigan.

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