Prioritize discussions about the long-term consequences of smoking. Be aware that just because someone has quit doesn’t mean that they won’t relapse.
Electronic cigarettes are known to have noxious chemicals and toxins. While clinicians know they can cause immediate and acute injury, recent studies show they have ongoing and lingering effects. The concern is the possibility that these long-term consequences may result in chronic and irreversible diseases in the future. The other concern is the addictive nature of electronic cigarettes, with many patients returning to use them even after having suffered lingering symptoms. This is on par with combustible cigarettes and patients returning to smoke after heart attacks, lung cancers, and even lung transplantations.
Nicotine is addicting. And when chemically enhanced by toxic chemicals, executed in an insidious behavior over and over again, the gravity of the addiction results in a perhaps lifelong consumption. If we don’t help our youth and adolescent avoid these products, we may have a new generation of patients and allow history to repeat itself.
Here’s what you can do:
1. Prioritize discussions about the long-term consequences of smoking.
2. Be aware that just because someone has quit doesn’t mean that they won’t relapse.
3. Ask what support your patient has from family, friends, and their community. If they’re struggling with this, suggest ways for them to reach out and connect.
This piece expresses the views solely of the author. It does not necessarily represent the views of any organization, including Johns Hopkins Medicine.