Arkansas Health Department warns of dangers of e-cigarettes


LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Health Department issued an advisory Tuesday warning consumers of dangers associated with electronic cigarettes.

The agency said it advises caution regarding e-cigarettes, also known as electronic nicotine delivery systems or vapor devices. It warned that:

—Nicotine is toxic and highly addictive and affects the nervous system and heart. It can be absorbed into the body through inhalation, ingestion and skin contact.

—E-cigarettes are not emission free, and their pollutants could be a health concern for users and secondhand smokers. The devices should not be used indoors or in cars.

—Secondhand vapor can cause bystanders to inhale nicotine, propylene glycol and tobacco-related contaminants such as formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and acrolein.

—Excessive exposure to nicotine can result in poisoning, particularly in young children and pets. Liquid in e-cigarettes or vapor devices should not be accessible to children.

—Pregnant women should avoid using the devices. The nicotine crosses the placenta and can cause miscarriage; cause low birth weight; affect the baby’s blood flow, heart rate and breathing; and contribute to sudden infant death syndrome.

—E-cigarettes may lead to increased nicotine addiction among young people.

—E-cigarettes are available in flavors that appeal to children, such as bubblegum, strawberry and chocolate. Act 1188 of 2103 prohibits the sale of e-cigarettes to people under 18.

—It is illegal to market e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation aid, a purpose for which they have not been adequately tested. The federal Food and Drug Administration has warned some companies to stop making such claims.