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Report indicates e-cigarette use more than doubled in Utah from 2012 to 2013

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Posted at 3:18 PM, Sep 04, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-04 23:52:56-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- A new survey says e-cigarette use has more than doubled in Utah.

The Utah Department of Health says the dramatic rise is worrisome.

The numbers reveal more Utah adults are smoking e-cigarettes than ever before, and, often times, they are doubling up. That means they're smoking regular cigarettes and the vapor. UDOH says the problem is that no one really knows the long-term health benefits.

"I've smoked cigarettes since I was about 12 years old and I switched to this about a year and a half ago. I like it a lot better," e-cigarette user Shayne Easterbrook said.

"It's new, it's trendy. I think that's a lot of it, it's the cool thing to do now and I think people believe it's a lot healthier than smoking regular cigarettes," said Parker, who is also an e-cigarette user.

"The problem is we don't have any long-term findings on the usage of e-cigarettes," said Adam Bramwell, who is with the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program at UDOH.

The Utah Department of Health released its second annual phone survey, comparing 2012 to 2013, which found the rate of adults using them jumped from 1.9 percent to 4.8 percent, which is an increase of about 152 percent.

About 60 percent of people who use e-cigarettes also use conventional cigarettes, and 15 percent of e-cigarette users have never even tried a regular cigarette.

"So they, like teens, are being lured in by the marketing, the flavors and the fun appeal of e-cigarettes,” Bramwell said. “In the marketing there are things they can say and can't say, but the things they can say can allow them to put the wool over the public's eyes to lead them to believe this is safe, this isn't addictive, this isn't that big of a deal, give it a try.”

Aaron Frazier, the Director of Utah Vapers, released a statement to FOX 13 News, saying in part:

"Electronic cigarettes have not caused any serious health problems or a single death as a result of usage and have helped an estimated 6 million global smokers quit smoking."

"It's all about oral fixation," Parker said.

Parker said while he feels better only smoking electronic cigarettes now, he admits more research needs to be done about the potential health effects.

"It's become very, very popular, very quickly and what we know about the health aspects is limited,” he said.

Socially, e-cigarettes fall into the same category as regular smokers. Under the Utah Indoor Clean Air Act, users of both of them have to abide by the same rules.

Click here for information and resources regarding becoming tobacco free.

Click here for more information from the report. (File will either open in a new page or begin downloading as a PDF, depending on your web browser and settings.)