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

 
Sheep: Shearing Record Smashed In Hawke’s Bay

Three shearers gathered from around New Zealand have smashed a World record by 264 sheep despite the heat, the pumiced sheep of inland Hawke’s Bay and a year’s wool weighing an average of over 3.5kg a sheep. More>>

ALSO:

Carrie Fisher: Hollywood In-Breeding & The Velocity Of Being - Binoy Kampmark

There was always going to be a good deal of thick drama around Carrie Fisher, by her own confession, a product of Hollywood in-breeding. Her parents, Debbie Reynolds and the crooner Eddie Fisher, provided ample material for the gossip columns in a marriage breakup after Eddie sped away with Elizabeth Taylor. More>>

  • Image: Tracey Nearmy / EPA
  • Gordon Campbell: On The Best Albums Of 2016

    OK, I’m not even going to try and rationalise this surrender to a ‘best of’ listicle. Still…maybe there is an argument for making some semblance of narrative order out of a year that brought us Trump, Brexit and the deaths of Prince, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen and Alan Vega, who I missed just as much as the Big Three. So without further ado….oh, but first a word from the sponsor More>>

    Emojis: World’s First Māori Emoji App Launched

    It’s here - the world’s first Māori emoji app Emotiki has landed just in time for summer roadtrips and santa stockings, with 200 Māori and Kiwi cultural icons for people to share their kiwiana moments with each other and the world. More>>

    ALSO:

    Howard Davis: Album Of The Year - Van Morrison's 'Keep Me Singing'

    2016 was a grand year for Van The Man - The Belfast Cowboy turned 71, received a knighthood, and reissued an expanded set of soul-fired live recordings from 1973 ('It's Too Late to Stop Now'). In the game for 53 years now, Morrison's albums consistently open new windows into the heart and soul of one of the most enigmatic figures in modern music. More>>

    Review: The NZSO Performs Handel's Messiah

    Max Rashbrooke: Saturday night's performance took the piece back to something like the way it would have originally been performed when premiered in 1742, with an orchestra of 20-30 players and only a few more singers. More>>

    Culture: Rare Hundertwasser Conservation Posters Found After 40 Years

    When Jan and Arnold Heine put a roll of conservation posters into storage in 1974 they had no idea that 42 years later they would be collectors items. More>>

    Get More From Scoop

     
     

    LATEST HEADLINES

     
     
     
     
    Health
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news