News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 


E-Cigarettes: Friend Or Foe?

By Carolyn Kavita Tauro

‘Tobacco is one of the leading killers in the world’; ‘smoking is harmful for our health’; ‘smoking can cause lung cancer, heart disease’… We have heard it all before. We also know how once someone gets into the habit of smoking it is very difficult, if not impossible for him/her to quit due to the addictive nature of nicotine. So the tobacco industry, with all its so called concerns for the dying population, has come up with a new alternative to smoking – E-Cigarettes.

What Exactly Are E-Cigarettes?

E-cigarettes are devices which come in the shape of a pen or pocket torch and look very much like conventional cigarettes. They work by heating a solution that contains nicotine (may or may not) and other chemicals, forming a vapour that the vaper (the user of e-cigarette) inhales. Some categories of e-cigarettes are Rechargeable electronic cigarettes, Disposable electronic cigarettes, E-Go electronic cigarettes, Personal vaporisers, electronics cigars and E-liquids. The Rechargeables (with reusable batteries and replaceable liquid nicotine) are supposedly meant for those who smoke on a light to medium range, while disposables are for social or light smokers, or even for those who are first-timers. The E-Go (with bigger batteries and more options) is designed for those who want ‘more power’ out of their cigarettes. The Personal Vaporiser (or lava tubes) are for heavy smokers and come with LCD screens, controls and removable batteries. The electronic cigars are for cigar smokers and are supposed to be a great substitute for those who want the same rich taste of cigar minus the smell. Last of all, is the E-liquid or E-juice which enables vapers explain a variety of flavours and nicotine strengths to choose from.

E-Cigarettes Help Quit Smoking… Or Do They?

Many smokers, especially the young ones, try e-cigarettes in an attempt to quit smoking. Some intend on reducing their smoking habit or use it in smoke-free public areas. Whether it helps quit or even reduce smoking remains the big question with no proven answers. A study done on quitting success in those who use e-cigarettes versus those who do not, showed no difference between the two. The use of e-cigarettes may actually promote dual use i.e. a smoker would now be a vaper too. In a study done on Korean adolescents using e-cigarettes, it was concluded that those who had initiated using e-cigarettes to quit smoking were more likely to use them, but were not less likely to stop using traditional cigarettes. Also, these were strongly associated with current and heavy cigarette smokers.

Although it is said that e-cigarettes are less harmful than traditional cigarettes, studies show that they still contain harmful substances in varying amounts. These substances include nicotine, ultra particles and volatile organic compounds, which are known to harm if inhaled repeatedly. E-cigarette puffing or vaping increases risks of hypertension and cardiac arrhythmias (erratic heart beats) which could results in adverse effects. In some cases, intoxication due to the absorption of nicotine has also been noted.

“The 5.4 million tobacco related deaths occurring every year are not due to a virus or bacteria, but because of the marketing tactics of tobacco companies. E-cigarettes (ECs) are now their new target products,” says Mr. Bill Bellew, of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) to Citizen News Service (CNS). The marketing and sale of these products result in an increased public presence of cigarette-like images and the behaviour of smoking. They could even promote the habit of nicotine inhalation in non-smokers. “In some cases they are used as smoking cessation aids, while in other quarters they are used to maintain the addiction. The health impact of long time inhalation of propylene glycol—a lung irritant-- is of concern and needs to be fully investigated. Some ECs have shown the presence of di ethylene glycol which has a history of mass poisonings and deaths”, he adds.

We Need To Know The Unknown

Further research is required for this product in the market. More research is required to study the ill effects of e-cigarettes on the user as well as on those around-- namely children, pregnant women and those with cardiac conditions.

“We do not know. We do not have any reports from drug and/or government regulatory authorities or scientific laboratories on what one is vaping actually. We are not even sure if the nicotine in ECs is chemical nicotine or is got from the tobacco leaves. Efficacy studies need to be done to make sure that they can be used only for quitting (as is being claimed by the manufacturers) under prescribed environments. We do not have evidence right now and till we have it we cannot believe in one sided research claimed to be done by the producers of ECs. So till research has happened, regulations need to be put in place”, says Dr. Ehsan Latif. Director, Department of Tobacco Control at the The Union.

After decades of work to de-normalize smoking, these findings raise the question of whether e-cigarettes are re-normalizing smoking. “ECs are trying to renormalize smoking habits”, says Dr Latif, “We as public health professionals need to learn from history and it gives me a déjà vu of the 1960s when cigarette companies told the public that their products are safe (but they were not). The same thing is happening with ECs”.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

NZ on Air: More Funding For TV Captions To Increase Access

More funding for TV captions to increase access NZ On Air has increased funding to provide more captions and audio description on television programmes for the hearing and sight impaired. More>>

Music: So Laid Back Country China Album Release

On Friday night, So Laid Back Country China held a gig at Meow for the release of their new album With Knees of Honey in Goodbye Canyon. I briefly spoke with Harriet lead vocals, keyboard) and Michael (lead vocals, guitar) before the gig More>>

Art: Wellington Region Celebrates Matariki

Eight Wellington museums and galleries have joined forces to present a major programme of exhibitions and events to celebrate Matariki 2015, the Māori New Year. The Wellington Matariki Festival will host more than 60 free events and activities between Saturday ... More>>

Wellington: TEDxWellingtonWomen Speakers Unveiled

The lineup is announced today for the highly anticipated upcoming event TEDxWellingtonWomen. Speakers include local women and men who have lived extraordinary lives and have ideas worth spreading. More>>

Culture: RNZB Showcases NZ Artists With Two World Premieres

The Royal New Zealand Ballet’s mixed bill Salute - Remembering WW1 which opens on 22 May will showcase the talents of New Zealand artists working at the top of their field. More>>


Books: Witi Ihimaera To Address ‘State Of NZ Literature’at Festival

6 May 2015 MEDIA RELEASE Witi Ihimaera to Address ‘State of NZ Literature’ at Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival The New Zealand Book Council has chosen the 2015 Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival as the stage for its annual address, which ... More>>

Culture: Historic Māori Portraits Travel To The Czech Republic

Image credit: Gottfried Lindauer, Wahanui Reihana Te Huatare, oil on canvas, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of Mr H E Partridge, 1915 More>>

Art: Something Felt, Something Shared - Enjoy

Gabrielle Amodeo, Ruby Joy Eade, Clare McLean, Kalya Ward Curated by Emma Ng May 7 – 30, 2015 Opening: Wednesday May 6, 5.30pm Strange frequencies are channelled through personal narratives and poetic placeholders in Something felt, something ... More>>

Culture: Pukeahu Park ANZAC Day Commemoration 2015

Pukeahu Park ANZAC Day Commemoration 2015 Images from New Zealand Defence Force Click for big version A bugler plays The Last Post Click for big version A View from the top of the Carillion Click for big version Faces old and young Click for big ... More>>

Television: MediaWorks Announces Dancing With The Stars Hosts

MediaWorks and BBC Worldwide ANZ are delighted to announce host Dominic Bowden alongside co-host Sharyn Casey for the hit series Dancing with the Stars. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news