Hypertension: What I need to know

What is Hypertension?

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a chronic medical condition regarding the force of the blood against artery walls. Hypertension is a sign that the heart and blood vessels are working harder than they need to.

        • Hypertension is diagnosed when the systolic reading, the top number, of your blood pressure > 140 and the diastolic, the bottom number, is >90

What are the Symptoms?

Most people with high blood pressure have no signs or symptoms, even if blood pressure readings reach dangerously high levels.

A few people with high blood pressure may have headaches, shortness of breath or nosebleeds.

How do I get Hypertension?

For some, there isn’t a reason they get hypertension, while others get it due to diet and stress. Some will develop it due to underlying conditions like: Obstructive sleep apnea, Kidney problems, Adrenal gland tumors, Thyroid problems, Certain defects you’re born with (congenital) in blood vessels, Certain medications, such as birth control pills, cold remedies, decongestants, over-the-counter pain relievers and some prescription drugs, Illegal drugs, such as cocaine and amphetamines.

How do I prevent Hypertension?

Prevention is key! Reduce sodium intake, exercise daily, smoking reduction/cessation.

I am worried I have Hypertension. Now what?

Make an appointment with your primary health provider to discuss your concern. Possibly he/she will only need to guide you in making lifestyle changes or they may suggest beginning anti-hypertension medication. Regardless of the plan of care, it is important that you do not ignore your high blood pressure. Long term hypertension can be deadly if not controlled.

Still unsure about Hypertension?

Watch this quick video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjTMZ_sm0LQ

Vaping: A dangerous Habit?

By: Vaping360

What is vaping anyway?

Vaping is a method of inhaling and exhaling an aerosol. This aerosol is often called a vapor that is produced by an e-cigarette or other devices. Vaping devices use liquids containing nicotine and other substances that are heated, turning the liquid into a thick aerosol. Vaping devices contain four different parts: A cartridge that holds the liquid, a mouth piece used to inhale the liquid, a heating element and a power source, usually a battery. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4154203/

Difference between vapor and aerosol: A vapor refers to the gaseous state of a substance like water that contains little or no particles. 
An Aerosol is a suspension of tiny particles of a solid, liquid, or both that are in a gas.

Is Vaping a safe alternative to Cigarettes?

Vaping is a relatively new phenomenon that is increasing in popularity, especially in teens. In the last few decades, healthcare communities have fought to decrease smoking in adults and youth. Vaping devices are now threatening this progress. Healthcare officials initially thought that vaping devices were less dangerous than tobacco cigarettes, and could provide a safer alternative. Vaping may be an alternative to cigarettes; however, a safer alternative is incorrect. The CDC reports that vaping devices offer the same dangers as cigarettes just in smaller doses and over a more extended period. https://nsuworks.nova.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1015&context=occ_stuarticles

What’s in the liquid?

E-liquid is the ingredient used in most vaper devices and usually consists of propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, flavorings, nicotine. However, other toxic chemicals were discovered by The U.S Food and Drug Administration, including carcinogens, formaldehyde, and Diethylene glycol an ingredient found in antifreeze. https://nsuworks.nova.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1015&context=occ_stuarticles

How is vaping bad for you?

Long-term and harmful effects from vaping are not well researched; however, according to the CDC, the aerosol produced from vaping devices contain unstable organic compounds. These compounds are resistant to protective mechanisms in the respiratory system. When the aerosol is inhaled, dozens of tiny particles travel deep into the lungs and cause issues with breathing. https://www.rdhmag.com/home/article/16409913/e-cigarettes-vaping-and-chairside-education

Facts from the FDA

  • Nicotine addiction in youth is rising due to the popularity of vaping devices.
  • Longe-term effects from vaping are unknown
  • It is unclear if vaping is effective in helping people quit smoking cigarettes
  • It is unclear if vaping is less harmful then smoking traditional cigarettes 
  • It is unclear of the influence it may have as a “gateway” to smoking cigarettes
  • Manufacturers have targeted kids in their marketing of vaping products.
  • Vaping is not safe


The harmful effects of vaping are not well-researched. Debates continue whether or not vaping is a safe alternative to smoking cigarettes, and help adults kick the smoking habit. The questions answered show that vaping is risky and can cause serious health problems. Vaping products target youth and have proved to be effective with a dramatic increase in use among teens and adolescents. The truth is that vaping is a dangerous habit. Although changes have been implemented stricter regulations and more research are needed. We need to protect the health of our children and not let vaping become the next tobacco story. 


Arnold, C. (2014). Vaping and Health: What Do We Know about E-Cigarettes? Environmental Health Perspectives, 122(9). doi: 10.1289/ehp.122-a244

Prudovsky, D. (2019). Saying No to Vaping: What you should know about the dangers of e-cigarettes. Dental Assistant88(2), 10–11. 

Sherry, J. S., Blackstad, N. M., & Wheatley, K. S. (2017). E Cigarettes, Vaping and Chairside Education. RDH, 37(1), 45–52

Social Media and Mental Health

Social media is a tool used for communication, entertainment, collaboration, information, and social organization, used by people of various age groups. Facebook is one of the most popular social media sites that consist of over one billion active users. Its utilization is for business and personal communication that can serve positive advantages of increased connectivity, sharing of ideas, and online learning.  Social networking sites have impacted the way people communicate and interact. The development of social networking sites have increased the time spent on devices which has led to the reduction of interpersonal communication with both family and social environment.  It enables a person to interact with a large number of people, but the interactions are described as shallow and cannot replace face to face communication.  90% of social media users were between the ages of 18-29,  they spent approximately two hours a day on social media. Bailey Parnell a social media expert discussed  the consequences social media has on a person’s mental health.   Parnell focused on 4 common stressors of social media.

  • Highlight reel is the collection of a person’s brightest moments and it becomes a stressor when comparison is made to other peoples highlights
  • Social currency, value is placed on likes and dislikes given to a person by others.
  • The “Fear of Missing Out” (FOMO), according to a Canadian university 7/10 students did not want to get rid of their social media accounts because they did not want to be left out.
  • Online harassment, has been either experienced or witnessed by anyone who owns a social media account with targets that are women, people of color, or part of the LGBQ community

There is so much information stating that social media is harmful to our mental health but  social media is not the  problem but it’s the  users who create a harmful environment. There is no evidence that states Facebook or any other social networking site causes depression especially if they are used for reasons other than communicating with family and friends.  It has been seen to decrease rates of depression. However extensive use of social networking site used in other forms than communicating with loved ones may weaken their relationship by increasing feelings of loneliness.  On the contrary the hyper personal model is an aspect of the positive results of social networking,  it allows users to portray appealing traits of themselves to other social networking users. The selective self-presentation impacts an individual’s self-evaluation and self-esteem.



Online Social Networking and Mental Health. (1, October). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4183915/

Shibboleth Authentication Request. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://library.neit.edu:2216/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=24&sid=e3c9dbb6-ea98-4505-b74e-b43f3aa9b473%40sdc-v-sessmgr03

Why Social Media Causes Anxiety. (2019, September 12). Retrieved from https://www.anxiety.org/social-media-causes-anxiety



Pot For Pain?


By: Marco Verch Professional Photographer and Speaker

Pot for Pain?

 Pain comes in all sorts, and each of us has experienced it in some way or another. Whether it’s the pain of a headache, a broken bone from a fall, we all have pain receptors. What happens when it isn’t temporary? When your nerve endings have permanent pain, and it tingles and hurts chronically?  Pain then becomes a long-term issue, chronic, and it can have a significant impact on quality of life. What does a person do when traditional medications don’t cut it, and increasing tolerance to medications, such as opioids, with other side effects as an issue? With the approaching legalization of cannabis becoming more and more it has many wondering if it is a good option for pain relief.

By: Marco Verch Professional Photographer and Speaker

A Quick look at Neuropathic Pain:

  • Neuropathy is the damage to the sensory, motor or automatic nerves that occurs from an underlying cause such as diabetes, accident, spinal cord or nerve damage.
  • It’s a complex and chronic condition that affects nearly 20 million people in the United States. That’s 20 million people seeking relief.
  • Neuropathic pain accounts for about one in five cases of chronic pain.
  • Neuropathic pain is notoriously difficult to treat. Medications that are normally prescribed for other types of pain (e.g., non-steroidal anti-inflammatories or opioids) are most often times ineffective.

So, studies suggest that cannabis may be a good treatment option to relieve chronic neuropathic pain but does the evidence stand up to the hype, or are the pain-relieving properties smoke and mirrors?

What does the research say?

THC and CBD are the two chemicals found in marijuana that are thought to contribute have the ability to relieve pain. THC alters pain perception by reducing anxiety and stress, while CBD has anti-inflammatory benefits that lessen pain. Cannabis-based medications come in several forms, so for the naysayers on smoking being risky, it can also be ingested in foods, taken as a supplement, and also available in tincture options.

By: Thomas Haynie

A recent systematic review found that compared to a placebo, cannabis-based medications have the ability to provide moderate to substantial pain relief, reduce pain intensity, help with sleep problems, and also mental and psychological distress such as anxiety and PTSD. Unfortunately, these benefits also come associated with side effects including sedation, confusion, and psychosis.

The catch here is for some people, these side effects may be severe enough to outweigh cannabis’s pain-relieving benefits, yet how the drug is used also effects its side effects.

Where does this leave us?

Overall the fact is…the quality of the research around cannabis for neuropathic pain relief is low. That is not to say that neuropathic pain sufferers should disregard cannabis as a treatment option – but as with any treatment, it may work for some, but not for others.

The bottom line ___________  

  • More high-quality research is needed to confirm its benefits.
  • Many people experience neuropathic pain, which becomes more common as we age.
  • Cannabis-based medications may relieve pain in some people, but side effects such as sedation, confusion, and psychosis can cause the risk to outweigh the benefit.
  • Current evidence is of low quality, so while promising, more high-quality research is needed to completely determine the effectiveness of cannabis-based medications for the treatment of neuropathic pain.
    By: Marketeering Group


Hill, K. P., Palastro, M. D., Johnson, B., & Ditre, J.
W. (2017). Cannabis and Pain: A Clinical Review. Cannabis and
cannabinoid research
2(1), 96–104. doi:10.1089/can.2017.0017

Modesto-Lowe, V., Bojka, R., & Alvarado, C. (2018).
Cannabis for peripheral neuropathy: The good, the bad, and the unknown. Cleveland
Clinic Journal of Medicine
85(12), 943–949. doi:

Wallace, M. S., Marcotte, T. D., Umlauf, A., Gouaux, B.,
& Atkinson, J. H. (2015). Efficacy of Inhaled Cannabis on Painful Diabetic
Neuropathy. The journal of pain : official journal of the American Pain
16(7), 616–627. doi:10.1016/j.jpain.2015.03.008

The Flu Shot

 Flu Shot:

Should it be mandatory for healthcare workers to get the flu shot?

Influenza (the flu) is an easily spread virus that targets the nose, throat and sometimes the lungs. Symptoms range from mild to severe. The virus can cause complications and, in some cases, lead to death.

Common symptoms include:

·      Sore throat

·      Runny/ stuffy nose

·      Cough

·      Fever

·      Chills

·      Headaches

·      Lack of energy

·      Body aches

Many healthcare workers have direct contact with patients. Some states do not require staff to get flu shots, although they encourage it. But should it mandatory for employment?



Benefits of the flu shot:

·      Can stop you from getting the flu.

·      Can reduce flu-related hospitalizations

·      Protect pregnant women

·      Can protect the people around you, including babies, young children, older adults and people with a higher risk of getting ill.

You should NOT get the flu shot if:

·      You have egg allergies

·      You had an allergic reaction to the flu shot itself

·      You have Guillain-Barré Syndrome 


Why some people refuse the flu shot?

Some people question if the flu shot actually works, while some individuals are concerned about the side negative effects, which can sometimes be similar to the flu itself. Also, some people do not feel that they are at risk of getting the flu. Religion can also play a role in someone refusing the flu shot. While there are several reasons why people decide against getting the flu shot, should individuals that work in healthcare be required to get the flu shot?






Although the flu shot is not 100% effective, it is important for individuals, especially healthcare workers to get the flu shot, in order to protect their patients. This is true unless you have a medical or religious reason to waive getting the vaccination. Whether or not it should be required for employment should be left up to the hospital or facility. However, it is important to find the balance between employee rights and keeping the best interest of the patient in mind.




Implementing a mandatory flu shot policy: What every employer should know: As hospitals

push forward with mandatory flu shots, some employees are pushing back. (2017). Medical Staff Briefing, 27(11), 1–5. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ccm&AN=126155780&site=ehost-live


Key Facts About Seasonal Flu Vaccine. (2019, October 21). Retrieved from 



Nelson, W. A., & Lahey, T. (2013). The ethics of mandatory flu shots. Balancing patient

protection with healthcare worker autonomy is essential. Healthcare Executive, 28(6), 42–46. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ccm&AN=107922595&site=ehost-live



The Importance of Vaccinations

The Importance of Vaccinations

Childhood vaccinations can seem very overwhelming when you are a new parent. Recommended vaccine schedules are determined by credible agencies and organizations, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Vaccinations not only protect your child from deadly diseases, such as polio, tetanus, and diphtheria, but they also keep other children safe by eliminating, or greatly decreasing, dangerous diseases that were once easily spread through child to child contact.

A vaccine is a weakened version of, or part of, the “actual” germ and it cannot cause the disease being protected against. When children are exposed to a disease in vaccine form, their immune system can build up antibodies that protect them from contracting the disease if and when they are exposed to the actual disease.

In recent years, vaccines have generated controversy over fears of lack of safety, but no convincing evidence of harm has been proven. Although children can have a reaction to any vaccine, the important thing to know is that the benefits of vaccinations far outweigh the possible side effects.

2019 Recommended Immunizations from the CDC for Birth to 18 Years of Age



Fact or Fiction?

Trying to tease out myths surrounding vaccinations from the truth can seem overwhelming and never ending due to way misinformation can be disseminated so easily in this day and age. There is constant battling between the PRO (people for vaccination) and CON (people against vaccination) groups everywhere we look. Books, websites, and media videos are all vying for your attention, especially on the Internet where content providers are trying to get “clicks” to generate revenue. Studies have shown a negative influence on vaccination uptake through television and newspapers, as well as with new technology and social media having their share of misinformation. How do we, as consumers of information, know which sources are legitimate? Doctors and scientists use controlled experiments to generate data which can then be used to determine safety and efficacy. However, once vaccines are available to the public, it does not guarantee accurate information regarding their safety and efficacy reach the public. This can lead to various negative outcomes like reduced vaccinations. As evidence, according to a recent survey (2018), approximately 1 in 8 children under the age of 2 are under-vaccinated. The acceptance of vaccines is declining in the United States, and doctors need to play a more pivotal role than ever to help disseminate knowledge and positive attitudes toward vaccinations. With proper education, we can improve our decision-making process to one which is enlightened and our own.

The Science of Anti-Vaccination

For many the question of whether or not to vaccinate is daunting. Before anyone makes the decision to vaccinate or not, they should review information from creditable sources to guide their final decision.  


Facciolà, A., Visalli, G., Orlando, A., Bertuccio, M. P., Spataro, P., Squeri, R., & Di Pietro, A. (2019). Vaccine hesitancy: An overview on parents’ opinions about vaccination and possible reasons of vaccine refusal. Journal of public health research, 8(1).

Orenstein, W. A., & Ahmed, R. (2017). Simply put: Vaccination saves lives.

Sarvesh Kumar, J., & Brundha, M. P. (2018). Awareness about childhood vaccination among parents with children below 15 years of age. Drug Invention Today, 10(12), 2481-2484.

Vaccines for Your Children. (2019, March 18). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/index.html.




Fact or Myth: Treating Chronic Pain Without Opioids..Does It Work?

By: Marco Verch Professional Photographer and Speaker


It is no surprise that medication can be used for pain relief. How many of use an Advil or Tylenol every once in a while for a headache or joint pain? At times, just rest, ice or a heating pad will do the job. Unfortunately, for people dealing with chronic pain it’s not that easy. Until the recent opioid crisis, many people used opioids as the main way to treat their pain. From a legal standpoint, there are now stricter laws on what types of conditions they can be used for. Even though opioid use has led to many addictions and deaths, the law restriction makes it a lot harder for people who are actually dealing with chronic pain. Many doctors have chosen not to prescribe opioids because of drug abuse. So where does this leave those who need them for chronic pain? While some may not be open to it right away, research and medical professionals report that there are successful alternative ways to treat chronic pain aside from using only opioids.

For instance, the video below explains that hospitals are adapting alternative treatment methods for cancer patients dealing with chronic pain.

Massage and Healing Touch For Chronic Pain

By: Collin Parker

FACT: Regarding the video above, recent evidence from Gentile, Boselli, O’Neill, Yaguda, Bailey-Norton and Eaton (2018) suggest that using alternative methods like oncology massage and healing touch can reduce pain in cancer patients. The term “integrated oncology” refers to the widespread shift of using a combination of typical treatments and alternative therapies to target the mind, body and spirit of patients fighting cancer. Although the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) did not apply regulated guidelines of opioid use to cancer patients, The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) and The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) have created guidelines focusing on the value of treatment approaches that are not geared only towards opioids (Gentile et al., 2018).

Since previous research exists only with smaller samples sizes (no more than 165 participants), researchers used a sample size of 572 cancer patients. They received one therapy session of oncology massage or healing touch. Healing touch focuses on regaining energetic balance within the body through light touch or hand sweeping motions. The idea is that any bad health has caused this energetic imbalance in the body (Gentile et al., 2018). Through healing touch, creating equal amounts of energy in the body helps to manage/alleviate pain. Oncology massage involves applying pressure at different areas of the body. Their pain was assessed before and after. Results showed that after both therapies, more than half of the patients reported significant pain relief as compared to before therapy (Gentile et al., 2018).

Addressing Pain: Mind, Body & Soul

The outcomes of using opioids are more negative than not. The video below represents the goal of focusing on an approach that looks at the whole person and not just providing opioids for neck, lower back pain, headaches or other muscle/joint pain conditions. For many patients, there are other areas of their life that can contribute to the pain.

FACT: Mehl-Madrona, Mainguy, and Plummer (2016) provide supporting evidence that pain can be deep-rooted in all aspects of life. Unlike cancer, the Centers for Disease Control placed regulations on use of opioids for other types of pain. With focus on treating the whole person (holistic approach), Mehl-Madrona et al. (2016) used psychological and behavioral treatment, mindfulness and physical exercise (also know as complementary and alternative medicine therapies) to treat chronic pain. Individuals experienced less pain, less need for opioids and better quality of life. Mehl-Madrona et al. (2016) used group medical visits (GMV) as their method for pain management. Patients could only receive opioid refills if they were willing to attend the group sessions. A nurse, behavioral health specialist and doctor specializing in behavior led the groups. There were 12 participants in a 2-hour group session. Within the groups, there were restrictions placed on obtaining medication. Opioids were monitored closely to make sure they were being used properly and refilled at the appropriate time. Patients continued group visits for almost 7½ months (Mehl-Madrona et al., 2016).

Goals of the group medical visit:

  • Understand benefit of complementary and alternative (CAM) therapies
  • Become aware of harmful effects of opioids for pain management and possibly reduce amount of opioids used per day
  • Improve quality of life
  • Use CAM therapies as apart of lifestyle
  • Be responsible for own health

Group included the following:

  • Talking circle (sharing of any personal feelings, life experiences, pain, and moods)
  • Physical activity (yoga, stretching, yoga, quigong, t’ai chi or authentic movement)
  • Mindfulness or visualization
  • Behavioral therapy goal and discussion
  • Homework assignments issued at the end of the session
  • Consistently reminding patients that use of opiates can enhance pain and are not an effective method of pain management.

By 7 months, healthcare professionals found that there were improvements in many of the group members. Out of 42 patients, 8 stopped using opioids, while 18 decreased the amount. It is reported that group members overall mood/attitude changed as compared to the beginning of the study. They had less pain with a better sense of quality of life and negative effects of relying only on opioids to manage pain. Some participants chose to continue group medical visits up for 19 months (Mehl-Madrona et al., 2016).

Can Tai Chi and Exercise A Day Make the Pain Go Away?

By: Boris Thaser

Chronic pain can also be improved by increasing physical activity. Some might assume that this can contribute to the pain. However, the video below explains that Tai Chi is used to treat chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia.

FACT: According to Sawynok (2018), physical exercise is effective in treating chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia. Aerobic exercise is a common treatment method suggested for pain management in patients with fibromyalgia. Between the years of 2010 and 2017, Tai Chi became more widely recognized as an alternative physical exercise approach. Alongside meditation and yoga, Tai Chi is considered a mindful exercise. When comparing both exercises, Sawynok (2018) found Tai Chi to be more effective than aerobic exercise. Additional evidence suggests Tai Chi is useful in treating other chronic pain conditions like low back pain and osteoporosis. In the current study, there were 226 participants split into 5 groups. Four groups performed a Tai Chi regimen for 12 or 24 weeks one or twice a week along with home exercise for 30 minutes a day. Participants performing aerobic exercise were expected to do so twice a week for 24 weeks (Sawynok, 2018).

           Group 1: Tai Chi once a day; 12 weeks; 30 minutes at home

            Group 2: Tai Chi twice a day; 12 weeks; 30 minutes at home

            Group 3: Tai Chi once a day; 24 weeks; 30 minutes at home

            Group 4: Tai Chi twice a day; 24 weeks 30 minutes at home

            Group 5: Aerobic Exercise twice a day; 24 weeks

Participants completed a questionnaire specific to assessing Fibromyalgia (Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire Revised) before and after 24 weeks. The questionnaire reviewed overall well-being: pain, depression fatigue, anxiety, physical function morning tiredness and job difficulty (Sawynok, 2018). The results demonstrated that participants that performed Tai Chi had more benefits than those who performed aerobic exercise. All 226 participants had improved pain. They were able to lessen their amount of opioids used by the end of the study. Although one was found to be more effective than the other, the point here is that physical exercise is found to be effective in treating chronic pain (Sawynok, 2018).

So here’s the point…

For those reading this and dealing with chronic pain I understand that it’s not always that simple. Not everyone’s pain can be treated by methods other than medication. But there’s one thing everyone should know: Opioids are NOT the ONLY way to treat chronic pain. Other ways exist and have been effective in individuals who have tried them. This is promising. Not only can these alternative pain management therapies treat the specific point on your body, but they can address other areas in your life that you may not realize are adding to physical pain. Trying some alternative methods can help to decrease the dosage of opioids prescribed. The idea is to avoid the “quick fix” mentality with opioids and view pain with a more holistic approach. Only a few alternative treatment methods were named today. However, there are many to choose from. None of the studies found that participants reported complete relief from pain. But, if your pain could be more manageable and offer an improved quality of life isn’t that something you would want?  Consult with your doctor regarding referral to a pain management specialist for more information about options that work best for you. 


Anderson, K. [Cancer treatment of America, CCTA]. (2015 August 18). 3 alternative options for pain management [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjEXT_Lwvog

Gentile, D., Boselli, D., O’Neill, G., Yaguda, S., Bailey-Dorton, C., & Eaton, T. (2018). Cancer Pain Relief After Healing Touch and Massage, The Journal of Alternative And Complementary Medicine. 24(9&10), p 968-973. DOI: 10.1089/acm.2018.0192

Mehl-Madrona, L., Mainguy, B. & Plummer, J. (2016). The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 22(8), p. 621-626. DOI: 10.1089/acm.2015.0212

Sawynok, J. (2018). Benefits of Tai Chi for fibromyalgia. Pain Management, 8(4), p. 247-250. DOI: 10.2217/pmt-2018-0021

UCLA Health. (2017 September 13). Managing Chronic Pain Without Narcotics [Video File]. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkAqOditKN0

WCVB Channel 5 Boston. (2018 April 19). Tai chi workout may make chronic pain easier to manage [Video File]. Retrieved fromhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iatP4Ml9gNw

Are Electronic Cigarette Safer Than Smoking Tobacco Cigarette?

By: Mike Mozart

The use of electronic cigarettes has been a debatable topic in the media on being a safer alternative than smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes. Electronic cigarettes also called e-cigarettes were first licensed in China in 2003 and launched in 2007 in North America (Smith, Brar, Enja, & Lippmann, 2016). Many companies who sold this device largely advertise placing aids on the internet (Rom, Pecorelli, Valacchi, & Reznick, 2015). Cooperation’s selling e-cigarette, claim to be a healthier alternative and to help quit smoking traditional cigarette (Rom, Pecorelli, Valacchi, & Reznick, 2015). Since the launch of electronic cigarettes there are mixed views in the media and scholar research studies on this topic. Many media reports stated that e-cigarettes are safer due to less toxins such as a tar, however other media reports argue that electronic cigarettes are just as bad for you as traditional cigarette. With mixed views in the media on this topic it may be difficult to determine what is fact and what is fiction. It’s important to look at scholarly research articles when considering using e-cigarette.

What is Electronic cigarette?

A battery operated device that heats liquid that may contain nicotine and produces a vaporization of the liquid in which you inhale (About Electronic Cigarettes, n.d.).

What does electronic cigarette look like?

By: Sarah Johnson

There are many different styles of e-cigarettes.
Few examples are:
1. May look like a pen
2. Resemble traditional cigarettes
3. May also look like a USB stick
(About Electronic Cigarettes, n.d.).

What does the media say?

  • This video states that e-cigarettes are less dangerous than traditional tobacco cigarette.
  • Reported that since the launch of using electronic cigarettes, the use of smoking traditional cigarettes has decreased for students in high school.
  • Discussed using electronic cigarettes to help someone quit smoking traditional cigarettes. However, stated the importance of using e-cigarettes from reputable companies versus generic brand due to the possibility of products being altered.

(CGTN America, 2019).

  • This video compares two different research studies.
  • One experiment study stated that electronic cigarettes are safer than traditional tobacco smoking. Two jars were compared, 1 jar with traditional tobacco cigarettes and the other jar using e-cigarettes. The jar using traditional tobacco cigarettes found extensive amount of tar exposure, however the electronic cigarettes appears not to have much exposure noted. This experiment was to compare the risk of cancer. This experiment study reported to be approximately 98-99% safer when comparing the risk of cancer.
  • However, second research study reported using electronic cigarette is just as bad. This study exposed rats to e-cigarettes for 8 months and found increased risk of vascular disease (problems related to veins and arteries), which can increase an individual’s chances of a heart attack and stroke.

(CBS This Morning, 2019).

  • Reports using e-cigarette decrease risk of cancer between 56-97% when comparing to smoke traditional tobacco cigarettes.
  • States the importance of eliminating smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes and using e-cigarettes instead to see benefits.
  • Conclude, e-cigarettes are safer to use, however states the unknown of long-term effects.

(WCCO-CBS Minnesota, 2017)

Comparing journal articles from media post

First journal article analyzed was published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences written by Rom, Pecorelli, Valacchi, and Reznick (2015) compared e-cigarettes and smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes. This article aimed to determine if e-cigarettes are less harmful and help an individual quit smoking traditional tobacco cigarette (Rom, Pecorelli, Valacchi, & Reznick, 2015). However, this study concluded increased probability on an individual becoming dependent on nicotine (Rom, Pecorelli, Valacchi, & Reznick, 2015).  This journal article was unable to conclude a decline in smoking and stated the unknown long-term side effects on using this device (Rom, Pecorelli, Valacchi, & Reznick, 2015). When comparing this article from the media, it does not support using electronic cigarettes as a way to help an individual quit smoking nor does it say this device is a safer alternative.

By: Vaping360

Second journal article looked at was published in The Journal of Family Practice aim to determine whether using e-cigarettes are safe (Smith, Brar, Enja, & Lippmann, 2016).This journal article points out the un-known mixture in the liquid in many different e-cigarette devices, which can cause potential harm (Smith, Brar, Enja, & Lippmann, 2016). It was found that some e-cigarettes contain more nicotine than a traditional tobacco cigarette (Smith, Brar, Enja, & Lippmann, 2016). This article did not find evidence on the benefits of using this device to help quit smoking traditional tobacco cigarette (Smith, Brar, Enja, & Lippmann, 2016). However, evidence showed an individual who uses electronic cigarettes attempted to quit smoking more (Smith, Brar, Enja, & Lippmann, 2016). Lastly, this journal article reports an increase in harm effects of using both e-cigarettes and traditional tobacco cigarettes at the same time due to an increased exposure to the toxins (Smith, Brar, Enja, & Lippmann, 2016). Comparing this journal article from the media post, it continues not to support using e-cigarettes as a safe alternative.

Third article analyzed was published in International journal of environmental research and public health by Jankowski, Krzystanek, Zejda, Majek, Lubanski, Lawson, Brozek (2019) conducted research study on the of effects of using e-cigarettes and traditional tobacco cigarettes in young adults. This study concluded that numerous participants who started using e-cigarettes originally started using it to attempt to stop smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes (Jankowski et al., 2019). This research study analyzes and categorizes a group of 30 people as dual users (smoking regular cigarettes and e-cigarettes), cigarette smokers, and e-cigarette smokers (Jankowski et al., 2019). The journal article concluded individuals who smoke e-cigarettes had increased dependence on smoking (Jankowski et al., 2019). This study also found that individuals who smoke e-cigarettes are twice as likely to become addicted to nicotine as an individual who smokes regular cigarettes (Jankowski et al., 2019). Lastly, when comparing this journal article in what you see in the media and previous journal article analyzed it concluded an increase in dependence in nicotine (Jankowski et al., 2019).

By: Lindsay Fox

The takeaway

Electronic cigarettes are a fairly new device. It’s still early to tell what the potential long-term effects are. When determining if electronic cigarette are safer than smoking tobacco cigarettes, it is important to be aware of the unknown side effects. Some media posts reported that the use of e-cigarettes is less harmful and decreased the risk of smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes. However, all three journal articles analyzed and concluded an increased dependency on nicotine and does not recommend using electronic cigarettes as a safe alternative. It’s important to note that continued research on this topic is required.


About Electronic Cigarettes (n.d), Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/about-e-cigarettes.html

CBS This Morning. (2019, September 20). What the science says about the safety of e-cigarettes [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OPvAsYUrYw

CGTN America. (2019, September 19). What does the media say? Is vaping still safer than smoking tobacco? Professor Brad Rodu explains [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRiusHpLYJc

Jankowski, M., Krzystanek, M., Zejda, J. E., Majek, P., Lubanski, J., Lawson, J. A., & Brozek,    G. (2019). E-Cigarettes are More Addictive than Traditional Cigarettes-A Study in Highly Educated Young People. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(13), 2279. doi:10.3390/ijerph16132279

Rom, O., Pecorelli, A., Valacchi, G., & Reznick, A. Z. (2015). Are E-cigarettes a safe and good   alternative to cigarette smoking? Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1340(1),  65–74. https://doi.org/10.1111/nyas.12609

Smith, L., Brar, K., Srinivasan, K., Enja, M., & Lippmann, S. (2016). E-cigarettes: How “safe” are they? The Journal Of Family Practice, 65(6), 380–385. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx direct=true&db=cmedm&AN=27474819&site=e host-live

WCCO-CBS Minnesota. (2017, February 7). Study: E-Cigarettes Safer Than Regular Cigarettes [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFOXCfOMyx0