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AOA Supports Smoking Education, Cessation Efforts Amid Vaping Ban

Hundreds of people have been sickened by mysterious lung illnesses and teenage vaping continues to rise.




(PRESS RELEASE) Amid billowing health concerns around vaping, the American Optometric Association (AOA) is raising awareness of the importance of patient education on vision and eye health complications that are linked to or exacerbated by smoking.

This is following the administration’s announcement that it would ban the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes, at a time when hundreds of people have been sickened by mysterious lung illnesses and teenage vaping continues to rise. Hundreds of serious respiratory cases compounded by six deaths prompted this strong federal response into electronic cigarettes as health authorities go after the “safe alternative” to cigarettes.

Although e-cigarettes don’t contain many of the cancer-causing byproducts of cigarette smoke, evidence now suggests there could be ocular health considerations.

Published in September’s Optometry and Vision Science, a small-scale study of 21 vapers and 21 healthy nonsmokers found moderate-to-severe symptomatic dry eye and poorer tear film quality among the former as opposed to the latter. Additionally, researchers noticed significant reductions of noninvasive tear breakup time, fluorescein breakup time and tear meniscus height among vapers while vaping at higher voltages.

Dan Bintz, O.D., AOA Health Promotions Committee member, says doctors of optometry and staff need to continue thinking beyond the eye when it comes to tobacco use. That includes reinforcing patient education of smoking’s negative health consequences, as well as directing smokers to tobacco cessation resources.

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