Today@Sam Article

Department Of Population Health Adds To Research On Youth Vaping

Oct. 16, 2019
SHSU Media Contact: Carla Clark

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Adding to the national narrative on electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), also known as vaping, is a recent research project conducted by Christine Cardinal and Dhitinut Ratnapradipa in the Department of Population Health at Sam Houston State University. Cardinal and Ratnapradipa have published an article, “Assessing Texas Youth Electronic Nicotine Delivery System (ENDS) Use: Policy Perspectives,” in the Texas Public Health Journal (TPHJ). 

Vaping chartAfter surveying 158 students, the research team found that students have a lack of knowledge when it comes to the laws and dangers related to ENDS. One-third of the students reported that they have used vaping products, one-third reported that they have smoked cigarettes, and a majority of students feel vaping or smoking is socially acceptable. Young adult usage of ENDS has tripled in recent years, and the U.S. Surgeon General has released an advisory on E-Cigarettes for usage among youth.

Cardinal’s expertise is in health law and public health policy and her interest in researching the effects of ENDS stemmed from her own battle with cancer.

“Cancer impacts a lot of people’s lives and has personally affected mine, and as a public health professional, I believe it is our duty to stand up to cancer and promote health through interventions aimed at reducing the incidence rate of the disease,” Cardinal said. 

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Ratnapradipa is focusing his work on environmental health epidemiology and how these trends with ENDS can change what our world will look like in the future.

“We think research and time will prove that ENDS will have a profound effect on our environment with air pollution and our health with asthma, COPD and cancer related morbidity,” Ratnapradipa said. “Consumer usage of these products affects human health in kids, teens, adults and our elderly population.”

Vaping usesAccording to a 2003 TPHJ article, ENDS were originally designed to help traditional smokers quit their tobacco usage in combustible form, which was believed to be part of the carcinogenic properties of smoking. Since then, the World Health Organization reports there is insufficient evidence to conclude that ENDS products help smokers quit.  As of 2016, 3.6 million middle and high school students were using ENDS. That is precisely the statistic that worries Cardinal and Ratnapradipa and is the catalyst for starting their research on campus.

ENDS producers target younger users with a variety of flavors to enhance the experience of vaping, yet these enhancements have contributed to higher carcinogenic levels. The liquid nicotine, also known as vape juice or e-liquid, if ingested, has contributed to several fatalities, including children. The smoking age in Texas changed from 18 to 21 in September 2019, and you can report underage sales or use of ENDS and tobacco by email at tobacco.enforcement@cpa.texas.gov or anonymously by phone at 800- 345-8647.

Cardinal and Ratnapradipa cited reports of several states’ agencies that have started to include “No ENDS” in “no smoking” areas. Their hope is to advocate on behalf of youth, affect public policy at the local, state, and federal level, work with communities to regulate usage, utilize organizations such as schools and churches to educate, expand knowledge in interpersonal networks and to help individuals stop using ENDS.

 

 

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