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It’s becoming more challenging for people to find a place to smoke a cigarette. In fact, new laws signed Sunday ban cigarette smoking at any city beach, park, or bus stops.
But what about electronic cigarettes?
“E-cigarettes aren’t covered at this particular time, so folks would be able to use e-cigarettes as an alternative on our beaches,” Honolulu City Councilmember Ikaika Anderson said.
As an alternative to smoking, e-cigarettes have exploded in popularity, but researchers say there is no evidence yet that e-cigs are any healthier than regular cigarettes.
“Well, it is such a new product. There’s still much that’s not known about it. So, we don’t know the long-term safety of e-cigarettes,” said Dr. Thaddeus Herzog, with the University of Hawaii Cancer Center.
But a new study released by the UH Cancer Center has found that in Hawaii, 13 percent of smokers were using e-cigs as a tool to quit smoking.
“We were surprised about the results because we did not know how serious smokers are using electronic cigarettes to quit smoking,” said Dr. Pallav Pokhrel, with the UH Cancer Center.
The study also found certain ethnic groups in Hawaii are more likely to buy and use e-cigs.
“What we found based on this study was that in Hawaii, compared to whites, Native Hawaiians were less likely to use electronic cigarettes,” Dr. Pokhrel said.
The problem with these numbers is that there is still no proof that e-cigs are healthier than cigarettes, less addictive, or even if they really help people quit smoking.
Local groups say e-cigs are not part of the quit-smoking programs they support.
“We also don’t know how effective e-cigarettes are for quitting smoking. We need more, thorough studies about that. So our’s is just the first study showing that indeed people are using e-cigarettes to try to quit,” Dr. Herzog said.
Studies are being conducted at the UH Cancer Center to see how much a person’s health is affected by e-cigs.
Click here to view the full study.