If you or a loved one uses e-cigarettes, it’s important to know the facts, as well as how your benefits from the Board of Pensions can offer support if you want to quit.
While fewer Americans are smoking than ever before, the use of e-cigarettes (commonly called vaping) has increased in recent years, especially among young people. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2019, 10.5 percent of middle school students and 27.5 percent of high school students used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days.
Many people use e-cigarettes because they think they’re safer than regular cigarettes. But just how safe are they? Here are three myths about e-cigarettes, plus information about how your benefits through the Board of Pensions can help address concerns about e-cigarette use.
Myth #1: E-cigarettes don’t contain nicotine. E-cigarettes work by heating a liquid into an aerosol that the user inhales. This liquid usually contains nicotine, the addictive drug found in tobacco. The amount of nicotine in the e-liquid is noted on the product label, expressed as either a percentage or in milligrams. However, studies have raised concerns about the accuracy of product labeling. In some cases, e-cigarettes that claimed to be nicotine-free have been found to contain it.
Myth #2: E-cigarettes are safe to use. Besides nicotine, e-cigarette aerosol may contain other harmful substances, including flavoring chemicals that are linked to lung disease, heavy metals (such as lead, nickel, and tin), cancer-causing chemicals, and small particles that can be inhaled into the lungs. As of January 2020, more than 2,700 hospitalizations or deaths due to vaping-related lung injuries have been reported to the CDC from all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, with 60 deaths confirmed in 27 states.
Myth #3: Using e-cigarettes can help you to quit smoking. There is limited scientific evidence that e-cigarettes can help people stop smoking, and e-cigarettes are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a quit-smoking aid. If you want to quit, there are other safe, effective methods that can help. A good way to start is to talk with your doctor.
If you need support
If you’re concerned about your or a loved one’s use of e-cigarettes, help is just a call or a click away — and there’s no cost to you to use these resources.
You can call the Employee Assistance Program (EAP)* to speak with an EAP advocate who will listen to your concerns and direct you to helpful resources. You, your family members, and anyone who lives in your home can access the EAP 24/7 by calling Cigna Behavioral Health at 866-640-2772 or logging on to the Cigna website (one-time registration is required; use pcusa for Employee’s Employer ID).
You can participate in the Breathe Easy coaching program through Call to Health.* This six-week online coaching program can help you quit e-cigarettes or tobacco products for good, while you earn Call to Health points. To learn more, log on to the Call to Health website and click on the Ignite Your Life coaching tile.
*Call to Health is available to employees and their spouses with medical coverage through the Board of Pensions. Call to Health and the EAP are not available to members enrolled in Triple-S, GeoBlue, or the Medicare Supplement Plan.