Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

It is a well-known fact to residents of Baker that secondhand smoke is dangerous. The Montana Clean Indoor Air Act protects our residents from the harmful effects of the toxins in secondhand smoke by banning the use of cigarettes and combustible tobacco in public indoor spaces.

Unfortunately, there is a new threat to our clean air: e-cigarette aerosol.

People have been led to believe that the aerosol released by cigarettes is harmless water vapor. But, according to the U.S. Surgeon General, the aerosol contains nicotine and ultrafine particles that can be toxic, cause cancer, and lead to heart disease.

Even more concerning than the chemicals found in secondhand aerosol is the threat to Baker’s children. Montana is seeing record low rates of teen smoking, but skyrocketing usage of e-cigarettes. In Montana, 30 percent of youth are using e-cigarettes, over seven times the rate of adults and almost double the national rate.

Research recently published in the Journal of Adolescent Health has shown that youth who use e-cigarettes are more likely to become cigarette smokers in the future. Even the simple act of observing e-cigarette use evokes smoking urge and desire among young adult smokers, according to a recent study.

To protect our young people, e-cigarettes should be included in smokefree laws. Doing so will help limit youth exposure to the thousands of different products available, as well as prevent the renormalization of harmful smoking behavior.

Baker residents deserve the right to clean indoor air. Let’s keep Fallon County healthy by following the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and include e-cigarettes in the Montana Clean Indoor Air Act and Tobacco Free Schools Law!

On behalf of the Montana Tobacco Youth Coalition.

Mona Madler, SMART Executive Director, Coalition Member, 406-778-2020.