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Indian researchers: E-cigarettes can help smokers to quit the habit

"Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDs) as a Substitute to Conventional Cigarette: An Evidence-based Audit"

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October 4, 2016: E-cigarettes can help people quit smoking by providing them a significantly safer option, says a paper by Indian researchers who undertook an evidence-based audit of published scientific literature on the issue.

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The paper, titled “Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDs) as a Substitute to Conventional Cigarette: An Evidence-based Audit”, has been co-authored by Sambuddha Das, Yashmin Choudhury, S. Thangminlal Vaiphei and R.N. Sharan of the Department of Biochemistry, North-Eastern Hill University (NEHU).

[bctt tweet=”According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), some one billion people smoke, resulting in about six million deaths annually.” username=””]

More than one million Indians reportedly die annually because of smoking, making it the fourth leading cause of death due to non-communicable diseases (NCD) in the country.

The authors sought to identify better and safer forms of nicotine delivery to help people quit, especially those unable to do so. They found ENDs — also commonly known as “e-cigarettes” — demonstrate minimum health and safety concerns compared to the high risks associated with smoking and can be key to helping people kick the habit.

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“Our systematic meta-analysis of published literature compares the health and safety aspects of vaping using ENDS with smoking conventional cigarettes. We find that ENDS have minimum health and safety concerns compared to the high risks associated with conventional cigarettes,” said Sharan, a professor at NEHU.

“Although some gaps remain to be filled by further research, our study conclusively establishes that ENDS offer smokers a far safer alternative way to consume nicotine, which itself is relatively harmless,” he added.

The paper also demonstrates that in countries such as the UK, US, France, and Malaysia, where e-cigarette is relatively freely available, the number of cigarette smokers has declined.

Enabling access to such less harmful products in India would likely support public health objectives and reduce the burden of smoking-related health issues.

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“Using a multi-criteria risk analysis approach with conservative criteria weighting, we find that ENDS are an effective option to quit conventional cigarette smoking,” Sharan noted.

“Regulators and public health agencies should take note of these positive attributes of ENDS and explore policies that would enable access to these products.” (IANS)

  • Antara

    This must be given a try!

  • Aakash Mandyal

    Good news for the mass of people who are addicted to smoking. E-Cigarettes must be helpful to the people.

Next Story

Many Teenagers are Unaware of the Nicotine Content Present in e-Cigarettes: Study

The research involved 517 adolescents, aged 12 to 21, who were questioned about their use of e-cigarettes, traditional cigarettes and marijuana

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nicotine, e-cigarettes
FILE - A customer exhales vapor from an e-cigarette at a store in New York, Feb. 20, 2014. VOA

A new study shows that many teenagers who use e-cigarettes do not understand the amount of addictive nicotine they are inhaling.

The study, published in the American Academy of Pediatrics, found that 40 percent of adolescents who believed they were only using nicotine-free products were actually vaping significant amounts of the substance. The research involved 517 adolescents, aged 12 to 21, who were questioned about their use of e-cigarettes, traditional cigarettes and marijuana.

Researchers from Stony Brook University in New York state compared adolescents’ responses about their use of such substances against urine samples taken from the teenagers. They found that almost all of the respondents were honest about their substance use, however, they discovered the biggest discrepancy in the study came from teens who thought they were using nicotine-free e-cigarettes.

e-cigarette, nicotine
Customers puff at the Henley Vaporium in New York City. VOA

“Many of our participants were unaware of the nicotine content of the e-cigarette products they were using,” the researchers concluded.

Pros and cons

The study comes at a time when the popularity of e-cigarettes is on the rise and their use has become a divisive topic in the public health community.

Advocates for e-cigarettes say the products have the potential to shift lifelong smokers of traditional cigarettes onto less-harmful nicotine products, including e-cigarettes, while critics say that vaping risks bringing a new generation into nicotine addiction. Critics also point out that the health effects from the chemicals in e-cigarettes are not fully known.

e-cigarette, nicotine
The research involved 517 adolescents, aged 12 to 21, who were questioned about their use, traditional cigarettes and marijuana. Pixabay

It contains nicotine, which is addictive, but they do not contain tar or many of the other substances in traditional cigarettes, which make them deadly. Battery-powered e-cigarettes turn liquid nicotine into an inhalable vapor.

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Use among teens

Last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a plan to restrict sales of most flavored e-cigarettes at drug stores and gasoline stations in an attempt to keep them out of the hands of young people.

U.S. federal law bans the sale to anyone under 18 years of age. But a study published last year found that 1 in 5 high school students report using the devices — an activity known as vaping. (VOA)