Eight counties in Montana have taken the step to protect the health of their residents by including e-cigarettes in their local Clean Indoor Air Act protocol.
State health officials say it’s important for people to know the truth about e-cigarettes. One particular myth is that the aerosol released by e-cigarettes is harmless water vapor. However, according to the U.S. Surgeon General, the aerosol contains nicotine and ultrafine particles that have been known to be toxic, cause cancer, and lead to heart and respiratory disease.
Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) Director Sheila Hogan said it’s vital this issue is being addressed, especially considering the impact e-cigarettes are having with Montana’s youth. “With nearly a quarter of youth in our state using e-cigarettes, I commend several Montana counties for taking proactive steps to protect our youth from further exposure to these products and the aerosol released by these products.”
Among current adult e-cigarette users in Montana, 61.5% are also currently using regular cigarettes. This is particularly concerning for Montana’s youth, where more than 22% of high school students currently use e-cigarettes and almost half have tried them. “The popular use of e-cigarettes is normalizing tobacco use behavior and addicting a whole new generation to nicotine, and that is very concerning to me,” Hogan said.
Research recently published in the Journal of Adolescent Health has shown that youth who use e-cigarettes are more likely to become cigarette smokers in the future. Even the simple act of observing e-cigarette use evokes smoking urge and desire among young adult smokers, according to a 2017 study published in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research.
To address e-cigarette use among youth and young adults, the U.S. Surgeon General has concluded that action should be taken to include e-cigarettes into smoke free policies.
Montana now has eight counties with e-cigarettes included in their local Clean Indoor Air Act Protocol: Lewis & Clark, Carbon, Sanders, Powell, Granite, Wibaux, Yellowstone, and Lake. Yellowstone and Lake County’s expanded policies went into effect March 1, 2018.
The Clean Indoor Air Act is a complaint-driven policy. No additional man-power is needed to include e-cigarettes into the Clean Indoor Air Act. To submit a violation of the Clean Indoor Air Act, visit www.TobaccoFree.mt.gov and click “Report a Violation.”
“Even if your county has not included e-cigarettes in the local Clean Indoor Air Act Protocol, local businesses and multi-unit housing facilities are legally allowed to include e-cigarettes in their smokefree policies,” said Nicole Aune of the Montana Tobacco Use Prevention Program. “The more places prohibiting e-cigarettes use indoors, the more Montanans are protected from the dangers of e-cigarette aerosol.”
Submitted by Jon Ebelt, montana.gov