The electronic "vaping" cigarette consists of a battery on the bottom and a bottom-coiled tank on top. Electronic cigarettes are growing in popularity, but concern still lingers nationwide about their safety. e-Cig culture includes "vaping" meet-ups and an array of build-your-own products. 

In recent weeks the public has been bombarded, both nationally and locally, by news stories featuring teens falling for the futuristic allure of e-cigarettes, while full-page, color ads feature adult smokers switching to what is being touted as a “safer” alternative to smoking.

This new epidemic of e-cigarettes is not only targeting young smokers while serving as a convenient justification for older smokers to embrace what they feel is a healthier way to smoke, but it is also enticing non-smokers to give it a try. Regardless of which group a person is in, evidence is steadily mounting that shows that nicotine in any form is still the most highly addictive drug on the market. It is now at the point that the FDA is considering banning e-cigarettes until further studies are conducted.

As vaping increases, Louisiana health officials hope youth aren't dragged into nicotine addiction

Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, including more than 41,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure. According to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, smoking accounts for 6,500 deaths in our state every year. Our 23 percent adult smoking rate contributes significantly to our state’s continually, dismal health status, which costs the state $1.89 billion dollars annually in healthcare expenditures and $2.49 billion in lost productivity.

So, let’s stop fooling ourselves about e-cigarettes, vaping, and cigarette smoking, in general. There’s nothing cool about e-cigs; there’s nothing “safe” about switching to e-cigs, which contain the nicotine of at least 20 traditional cigarettes. As we have and will continue to do, the Smoking Cessation Trust encourages smokers to avoid a lifetime of nicotine addiction by quitting for good or by not falling for Big Tobacco's new attempts to hook you and a whole new generation for entertainment and profit.

Mike Rogers

CEO, Smoking Cessation Trust Management Services, Inc.

New Orleans