Monday February 18, 2019

E-cigarettes Are 95% Less Risky Than Conventional Cigarettes: Experts

Moreover, 55 countries worldwide, including the UK, New Zealand, Norway and Canada, among others, have legalised the sale of nicotine e-cigarettes and e-liquids as consumer goods

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E-cigarette additives impair lung function: Study.

By cracking down on artificial nicotine products, India will miss the historical opportunity to reduce the burden of disease and deaths due to smoking and tobacco as these products are 95 per cent less risky than conventional cigarettes, health experts said.

“E-cigarettes represent a very historical opportunity when you consider the diversity in the mosaic of different patterns of use in different products that are used at such high rates in India,” Konstantinos E. Farsalinos, a research fellow at the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Centre in Athens, Greece told IANS.

India has 11.2 per cent of the world’s total smokers. Over 11 per cent of the 6.4 million deaths worldwide were caused by smoking in 2015 and 52.2 per cent of them took place in China, India, Russia, and the US, according to a recent study published in the journal The Lancet.

“E-cigarettes are not safe but are certainly 95 per cent less risky than smoking conventional cigarettes,” Alex Wodak, Emeritus Consultant, Alcohol and Drug Service, St. Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney told IANS.

“The smoke from a conventional cigarette contains about 7,000 chemicals with mostly high concentrations but vapour from e-cigarettes contains only 150 chemicals which are mostly of low concentration,” Wodak added.

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In this April 11, 2018, photo, an unidentified 15-year-old high school student uses a vaping device near the school’s campus in Cambridge, Mass. Health and education officials across the country are raising alarms over wide underage use of e-cigarettes and other vaping products. The devices heat liquid into an inhalable vapor that’s sold in sugary flavors like mango and mint — and often with the addictive drug nicotine. VOA

In August, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issued an advisory to state governments to ban Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) which include e-cigarettes, vape, e-Sheesha, e-hookah, etc.

According to experts, banning these may deprive smokers of a substantially less harmful alternative which can be against public health and can result in adverse consequences.

One should never make decisions based only on potential risks but they should always measure benefits and see where the ratio lies, they added.

“Regulation is needed but it should be risk proportional,” Farsalinos said.

Earlier, in a statement, the Association of Vapers India (AVI) — an organisation that represents e-cigarettes — said the government has failed to offer an alternative to tobacco cigarettes known to cause many diseases, including cancer and lung disease.

“The government has so far relied on an emotional appeal to persuade tobacco users to kick the habit but never offered an alternative beyond gums and patches, which have a very low success rate,” said Samrat Chowdhery, Director, AVI.

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Smoking conventional, e-cigarettes daily can be more dangerous. Pixabay

In such a scenario, “an attempt to ban e-cigarettes is regressive given that the government’s stated policy is to provide wider choices to consumers for all products and services, and not restrict them,” he added.

Although e-cigarettes too contain nicotine like tobacco cigarettes, they do not produce tar and toxic chemicals that cause most tobacco-related deaths across the world, the experts argued.

Also Read- Sales of Apple iPhones Will Pick up in India with Onset of Festive Season: Experts

Moreover, 55 countries worldwide, including the UK, New Zealand, Norway and Canada, among others, have legalised the sale of nicotine e-cigarettes and e-liquids as consumer goods.

E-cigarettes are a proven stop smoking tool and while uncertainties undoubtedly remain about their long-term health impact, failing to explore the use of e-cigarettes could lead to the continued use of conventional cigarettes which currently kill millions, the experts noted. (IANS)

Next Story

New Device Equally Harmful as E-cigarettes

"If the current trend continues, tobacco use will cause more than eight million deaths annually by 2030 around the world," noted Sharma

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Talia Eisenberg, co-founder of the Henley Vaporium, uses her vaping device in New York, Feb. 20, 2014. VOA

While we know about the harmful effects of traditional cigarettes and vaping, new heated tobacco devices are no less toxic to the human lung cells than ordinary cigarette smoke, said researchers, including one of Indian-origin.

The study has compared new heated tobacco devices, which heat solid tobacco instead of an e-liquid, with vaping and traditional cigarettes showing that all the three are toxic to the cells.

In addition, these newer electronic nicotine delivery devices can destroy lung tissue leading to fatal diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer and pneumonia, and can increase the risk of developing asthma.

“Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death, and with the introduction of e-cigarettes in the last decade, the trend of nicotine uptake is not going to slow down in the near future,” said Pawan Sharma, a researcher at the University of Technology Sydney.

“The latest addition in this emerging trend is the planned and vigorous introduction of heated tobacco devices. They are commonly called next generation or heat-not-burn products. We know very little about the health effects of these new devices, so we designed this research to compare them with cigarette smoking and vaping,” added Sharma.

For the study, researchers tested the effects of all three nicotine sources on two types of cells taken from the human airways: epithelial cells and smooth muscle cells.

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A woman smokes an electronic cigarette in London, Aug. 19, 2015. VOA

In healthy lungs, epithelial cells act as the first line of defence to any foreign particles entering the airway while smooth muscle cells maintain the structure of the airway. However, smoking can lead to difficulty in breathing primarily by hampering the normal functions of these cells.

The team exposed the cells to different concentrations of cigarette smoke, e-cigarette vapour and vapour from a heated tobacco device, and measured whether this was damaging to cells and whether it affected the cells’ normal functions.

The findings, published in ERJ Open Research, showed that cigarette smoke and heated tobacco vapour were highly toxic to the cells both at lower and higher concentrations while e-cigarette vapour demonstrated toxicity mainly at higher concentrations.

Also Read- Here Comes The Novel Method to Predict Fatal Heart Disease

Importantly, the review of the European Respiratory Society’s Tobacco Control Committee’s own data on these devices has shown that, in rats, there is evidence of lung inflammation, and there is no evidence of improvement in lung inflammation and function in smokers who switch to heated tobacco, said Professor Charlotta Pisinger from the varsity.

“If the current trend continues, tobacco use will cause more than eight million deaths annually by 2030 around the world,” noted Sharma. (IANS)