State health officials issue warning about slectronic cigarettes

Reported by: Erik Avanier
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Updated: 2/18 6:37 pm
CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee(WDEF) - The Tennessee Department of Health is warning electronic cigarette users that their device may be just as dangerous if not more dangerous than regular cigarettes.

According to the Tennessee Department of Health, there is inadequate scientific information about E-cigarette side-effects. These devices are not regulated by state or federal agencies and they have not been FDA approved as tobacco cessation devices. State health officials also say emissions from electronic cigarettes are not only water vapor but other dangerous chemicals and that's why they are now asking all users to avoid exposing others to second hand emissions until more studies can be conducted.

Ben Connaly, the owner of Vapor Tonics in Chattanooga disagrees with the warning.

"There have been several studies that have shown these are about 99% healthier than a real cigarette so I'm not sure why they've come out with this warning and not looked at this other information that's already out there," Connaly said.

Vapor Tonics customer, Karen Ramsey said she started using electronic cigarettes last summer after many years of smoking regular cigarettes. She also has doubts about the TDH warning.

"I fell my lungs coming back way better everyday so that tells me that they're way less dangerous than cigarettes," Ramsey said.

WDEF talked to many electronic cigarette consumers who felt the warning is a form of government over-reach.

"I have a really strong feeling against government telling me what I can and can't do, especially if it's something natural," said Iv Elmendorf.

"I feel like they intrude on our lives too much. Give us a warning tell us it's bad let us make the decision whether or not we want to smoke it, eat it or drink it," Ramsey said.

Electronic cigarettes have been around since the early 2000's and regulations varies from state to state with health investigations still pending.
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