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Voluntarily Doing the Right Thing can Improve Health across Tennessee

Wednesday, October 14, 2015 | 01:48pm

NASHVILLE – As more cities and communities grapple with ways to protect the health of residents and visitors from second-hand smoke and potential hazards of emissions from electronic cigarettes and similar nicotine delivery devices, the Department of Health is appealing for voluntary actions by individuals to make a difference.

“We encourage people, in our state’s volunteer spirit, not to smoke or allow emissions from their electronic nicotine delivery systems in public places where impressionable children may be present or other people may be harmed,” said TDH Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH.  “Mandates are not the only way to encourage us to do the right thing and we would rather people quit, but isn't it better if people voluntarily limited or postponed public puffing?”

“Subjecting others to second-hand smoke or potentially harmful emissions from electronic nicotine delivery systems is an ongoing threat to public health,” said TDH Chief Medical Officer David Reagan, MD, PhD. “While some may view it only as a simple matter of courtesy or being polite, the reality is second-hand smoke or vapor emissions may harm others.” 

Approximately one-quarter of Tennesseans currently use tobacco products; the number of users of electronic nicotine delivery systems is not yet known. Those seeking help ending their nicotine addictions can find assistance at the toll-free Tennessee Tobacco QuitLine, 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).

The Tennessee Department of Health recommends using only FDA-approved smoking cessation devices. There is growing evidence electronic cigarettes and electronic nicotine delivery systems, or ENDS, may contain a variety of harmful ingredients including unregulated amounts of nicotine.  See the Tennessee Department of Health Public Health Advisory on these electronic devices at http://tn.gov{filedir_80}PHA_ElectronicTobacco.pdf.

The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the     health and prosperity of people in Tennessee. TDH has facilities in all 95 counties and provides direct services for more than one in five Tennesseans annually as well as indirect services for everyone in the state, including emergency response to health threats, licensure of health professionals, regulation of health care facilities and inspection of food service establishments. Learn more about TDH services and programs at www.tn.gov/health.