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Posted: February 1, 2018 3:54 p.m.
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Alert: Vaping dangers linger after first pull

According to the National Institute for Health, there has been a rise in the number of persons using electronic vaping systems. Research is ongoing and many aspects of the health hazards are unknown. Most of what we know about e-cigarettes is from lab studies. We don’t know about the real health effects on the users of this product, especially on long term users. 

Currently the products used in e-cigarettes are not manufactured with high standards or regulations, and not all ingredients are listed on the packaging. USA Medical Department Activity -Fort Stewart, Winn Army Community Hospital and Tuttle Army Health Clinic’s Department of Preventive Medicine is committed to educating our community on potential and present health dangers associated with such products in order to keep our military communities safe, healthy, and strong. Our efforts are aimed at supporting military readiness. 

Just recently, this concern has reached one of our military communities. The Womack Emergency Department at Fort Bragg has seen a cluster of serious events associated with vaping Cannabidiol oil (10 cases in eight days, and estimated 30 in the past few months). Patients described in their report have been presenting with symptoms of confusion, altered consciousness to seizures.  Other reported symptoms include tachycardia, hypertension, and dilation of the pupils, weight loss, irritability and anxiousness.  Of concern, many have endorsed use of the substance during the day at work in high risk occupations. These CBD products are widely available online, in many retail stores including "vape shops" and health stores. Product names include Black Magic, Black Diamond, and Triple X, among others. Of note, these are being marketing as products which result in euphoria, relaxation, decreased pain, decreased nausea and quicker exercise recovery in health and wellness outlets.

According to the MEDDAC Commander's Policy Memorandum Number 21-Tobacco Free Campus Policy has established guidelines for a tobacco-free campus at all MEDDAC buildings and all outlying health clinics, to include the US Army Dental Health Activity and US Army Public Health Command clinics at Stewart and Hunter. The campus is defined as any property or non-residential building that is owned, operated, maintained or leased by the USA MEDDAC, DENHAC or PHC, to include all roads, parking lots and sidewalks, heretofore known as the medical campus. This policy applies to all USA MEDDAC, DENHAC, or PHC employees, patients, visitors, students, trainees, volunteers, vendors and supplemental staff to include contract employees; heretofore known as employees, patients and visitors. The use of tobacco products (including electric cigarettes) are not authorized in or on the grounds of any MEDCOM, DENHAC or PHC facility. 

The medical community recognizes tobacco use as the most important preventable cause of death and chronic illness in the United States. A 2006 report by the U.S. Surgeon General declared there is NO risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke, including residual smoke residue that lingers on the cloths of those that return to work after smoking. Therefore, to better support our medical community's mission to protect the health, safety and comfort of employees, patients and visitors from the adverse health effects of tobacco products, tobacco use is prohibited on the entire medical campus. Tobacco products include, but are not limited to: cigarettes, cigars, pipes, smokeless tobacco, and electronic cigarettes/vaping or other tobacco devices. As a public health community, simple separation of smokers within the same airspace does not eliminate exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and providing spaces to smoke does not assist patients with quitting or providing a healthier environment. Building and maintaining smoking huts sends a message of approval for smoking. A smoke-free workplace is safer and healthier with reduced hazards and risks, and costs for all employees. Furthermore, reduced employee smoking prevalence decreases absenteeism, increases productivity, and reduces direct health care costs.

Take a proactive approach to health and learn the facts. For more information on smoking, vaping and use of all other tobacco devices go to the NIH or the CDC prevention website. Additional information can be also obtained at Army Public Health Nursing at 912-435-5071, Bldg. 308.

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