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Smoking is more than just a bad habit. It’s the number one preventable cause of death in the U.S., killing more people than HIV, illegal drugs, alcohol and traffic accidents combined.

A recent trend we’re seeing with smokers trying to kick the habit is trading in ordinary tobacco cigarettes for electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes or “vapers”). These new products are often marketed as safer, cleaner, and healthier than tobacco cigarettes.

The health risks associated with these new devices are somewhat unknown. While much research still needs to be done to understand the dangers of using e-cigarettes, here are three common misconceptions to consider:

Myth: E-cigarettes aren’t dangerous to your health.  
Fact: Recent research reveals that these largely unregulated products may not be as harmless as you think – some may even contain higher amounts of toxins than tobacco cigarettes.

Myth: E-cigarettes can help you quit smoking.
Fact: While this myth is up for debate, a study noted in this WebMD article found no real differences in curbing the habit when compared to nicotine patches.

Myth: E-Cigarettes don’t produce harmful second-hand smoke.
Fact: Since e-cigarettes carry toxic chemicals, “passive vaping,” or breathing in second-hand vapor, could be dangerous. While the second-hand smoke from e-cigarettes may be less harmful than regular cigarettes, e-cigarettes have the same, if not more of, the toxic heavy metals that can damage the lungs.

If you smoke, and want to quit, how are you trying to kick the habit? If you are a BCBSNC customer, many of our plans offer Tobacco Cessation Programs. Find out more by going to Member Services or reaching out to your benefits specialist.

 

Fara Palumbo

About Fara Palumbo

Fara Palumbo is the Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, ensuring that the company’s more than 4,700 employees are equipped to support and achieve strategic business goals. She has been with the company for 18 years, with increasing responsibility for human resources services supporting business performance, including talent acquisition, organizational design and development, change management, learning and development, and total rewards.

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