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AIM Spring 2015 Newsletter

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13 or 14 - Interactive Case Discussion: Pediatric Rhinitis & Wheezing, for health care providers, CEU & CME credits available, free, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., Dearborn Inn, Dearborn. Learn more

28 -  AAFA Asthma Management Education, for health professionals, CE available, free, 5:30 to 8 p.m., Covenant HealthCare, Saginaw. 
Learn more 


13 - Asthma Coalition of Northwest Michigan's Annual Asthma Symposium: Is it Vocal Cord Dysfunction or Asthma?, for health professionals, CME available, 5:30 to 8 p.m., Traverse City Golf & Country Club, Traverse City. Learn more


10 - AIM Partnership Forum, for anyone interested in Michigan asthma activities, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., LCC West Campus, Lansing. Learn more

30 - AAFA Asthma Management Education, for health professionals, CE available, free, 5:30 to 8 p.m., Munson Medical Center, Traverse City. Learn more


Does your organization work to increase asthma awareness and take action to get asthma under control? Do you need some fresh ideas to make those things happen? Visit the EPA's Asthma Community Network to learn how communities and organizations across the country fight asthma. For Asthma Awareness Month event ideas and tools, check out the EPA's Event Planning Kit


Do you need asthma continuing ed credits for AE-C recertification or health professional licensure? Visit the AIM website for in-person and online credit opportunities!

E-cigarettes & Asthma

by Laura de la Rambelje

Electronic cigarettes, e-hookah, vape pens... no matter what they are called, they seem to get more popular each day, and are a cause for concern. E-cigarettes are electronic devices that turn a liquid cocktail of propylene glycol, flavorings, glycerin and liquid nicotine into a mist. 

National studies show that e-cigarettes are popular with adults, and are increasingly popular with young people - they are now more popular than old-style cigarettes with middle and high school students. Poison control centers across the nation have stressed the need to treat e-cigarettes and their refills as a household hazardous product (like pesticides and cleaners). Between 2013 and 2014 poison exposures doubled nationally, and Michigan poison exposures also increased, due to e-cigarettes. In December 2014, a toddler in New York died from drinking the contents of an e-cigarette cartridge. The stories and statistics mean that healthcare providers need to learn more and talk to their patients about e-cigarette use.


Some of the side effects of e-cigarette use, such as pneumonia, and airway tightening and swelling, should also make those with asthma and their healthcare providers think twice. E-cigarettes expose users and bystanders to propylene glycol. Though it is a solvent used in everything from airplane de-icing fluid to asthma inhalers, when heated, propylene glycol turns into propylene oxide, which is known to cause cancer. No studies have been done to find the long-term effects of inhaling propylene oxide, or any of the other ultra-fine cancer-causing bits put off by e-cigarettes, including formaldehyde, cadmium, lead, nickel and nitrosamines, which can be inhaled into the deepest parts of the lungs. 


Retailers, Governor Snyder, and the Michigan Legislature have shown interest in keeping e-cigarettes and refills out of the hands of youth. Though Michigan does not yet have a law prohibiting e-cigarette sales to youth, recognizing that e-cigarettes and their refills are tobacco products, most stores are not selling e-cigarettes and their refills to minors. For adults that express interest in using e-cigarettes, know that e-cigarettes - both the device itself and its contents and refills - are not yet regulated by the FDA. Though many adults are using e-cigarettes as a means to quit tobacco use, they are not a proven way to quit, and are not FDA approved for that use. Instead, patients should use FDA-approved quit medications or nicotine replacement therapy, such as the gum, patch or lozenge. Patients can also call the Michigan Tobacco Quitline for information, and if eligible, counseling and nicotine replacement therapy at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).


Do you have more questions about electronic cigarettes in Michigan? Contact the Michigan Department of Community Health Tobacco Section at 517-335-8376.

Laura de la Rambelje, MA is an MDCH consultant to local tobacco coalitions and priority populations. She is also the coordinator for the 24-7 Comprehensive Tobacco Free School Policy Initiative. 

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For more information about asthma in Michigan:

Tisa Vorce or 517.335.9463