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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).

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), some one billion people smoke, resulting in about six… Click To Tweet

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)

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Have you switched from Cigarettes to E-Cigarettes? Beware! Vapor smoke from E-cigarettes are just as harmful, says a new research

If you are still wondering, the only completely healthy alternative to cigarette smoking is to completely quit smoking.  

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Do you believe e-cigarettes are a healthier alternative to smoking? Think again. Pixabay

North Carolina, October 23, 2017 : Vaping and e-cigarettes comprise a considerably new trend in the market, having been around for only for a decade or so. While their use has not been widespread, with mostly the younger population choosing it, a majority of the people are not even aware about it. However, out of those who know, it is a common belief that e-cigarettes are a healthier alternative to regular smoking.

Contrary to regular cigarettes that burn tobacco, e-cigarettes deliver nicotine to the smoker in the form of water vapor. Due to this diluted consumption, most people imagine vaping is healthier than smoking. But is that really true?

While it will not be wrong to say that e-cigarette vapor smoke does not contain the same composition and amount of carcinogenic compounds as regular cigarette smoke, a new research suggests that ‘vaping’ may have its own harmful effects.

According to researchers from the University of North Carolina, the use of e-cigarettes can lead to inflammatory lung disease, triggered by extremely harmful response in the lung to the vapor smoke.

The Study Findings 

For the study that has been published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine researchers examined the sputum samples of 44 non-smokers, e-cigarette users, and current cigarette smokers. Sputum is a combination of saliva and mucus, coughed from the respiratory tract which is often caused by some infection or disease.

  • Analysis found that the batch of e-cigarette smokers had a significant increase in neutrophil granulocyte- and neutrophil-extracellular-trap (NET)-related proteins, which are our immune system’s first line of defense against infection causing pathogens.
  • However, it was also revealed that while neutrophils are helpful in combating infectious pathogens, they are also known to contribute to lung diseases like COPD (a group of lung diseases that block the air flow, making it difficult to breathe) and cystic fibrosis (a life threatening disorder that gravely damages the lungs and the digestive system).
  • Additionally, the researchers also identified a similar positive trend in specific biomarkers of oxidative stress between e-cigarette users and regular cigarette smokers that have been understood as causative of lung diseases.
  • Furthermore, common increase in mucinn 5AC, which is associated with asthma and chronic bronchitis, was revealed in both, e-cigarette and cigarette users.

While smoking, in any way, is harmful, it is  important to note here that regular cigarette smoke and vapor smoke are two different compounds which can (and do) have different effects on the body. According to Dr. Mehmet Kesimer, senior author of the new study, “Comparing the harm of e-cigarettes with cigarettes is a little like comparing apples to oranges.”

ALSO READ Banning E-Cigarettes Deprives Indian Smokers of a Less Harmful Alternative: Experts

The senior researcher added that the research shows that e-cigarettes have a signature of harm in the lung, which is very similar to that of regular cigarettes, but also unique in its own way. A broader understanding of the harm done by vapor smoke can thus, have implications that challenge the popular belief that it is healthier alternative to consume vapor smoke from e-cigarettes than regular smoking.

It must be noted here that this study was carried out on a small and limited scale, with most e-cigarette smokers previously being cigarette smokers. This duplicity makes it difficult to clearly identify if the study results are strictly related to use of e-cigarettes and vapor smoke.

There have been numerous studies about the harm of e-cigarettes in relation to that of regular cigarettes. However, what makes the study extremely important is its analysis of the unique or novel ways that e-cigarettes could be causing harm to our bodies.

In increasing number of studies previously published have revealed how it is a healthier lifestyle choice to switch from regular cigarettes to e-cigarettes. But, new researches have begun to trace the long-term adverse effects of e-cigarettes, which are challenging this switch.

If you are still wondering, the only completely healthy alternative to cigarette smoking is to completely quit smoking.

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Banning E-Cigarettes Deprives Indian Smokers of a Less Harmful Alternative: Experts

The government is allowing the sales of lethal nicotine-containing products while banning a substantially less harmful alternative

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Ban on e-cigarettes, Pixabay

Sep 02, 2017: Banning e-cigarettes may deprive Indian smokers of a substantially less harmful alternative, which can be against public health and can result in adverse consequences, experts have warned.

Some states in India, including Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Punjab, Maharashtra and Kerala, have prohibited sales of e-cigarettes, while tobacco cigarettes remain legal.

According to media reports, the Union Health Ministry has recently ruled out acceptability of e-cigarettes in the light of research findings by experts who concluded that they have cancer-causing properties, are highly addictive, and do not offer a safer alternative to tobacco-based smoking products.

However, health experts argued that such decision creates a paradox. The government is allowing the sales of lethal nicotine-containing products — tobacco cigarettes — while banning a substantially less harmful alternative.

“In my opinion, banning e-cigarettes is against public health. I think it’s going to have an impending adverse consequence, because the ban will deprive Indian smokers of a substantially less harmful alternative,” Konstantinos E. Farsalinos a research fellow at the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Centre in Athens, Greece, told IANS in an interview.

Also Read: E-Cigarettes loaded with nicotine-based liquid may be as Harmful as Smoking, Says Research

“Banning is a hasty decision and can be counter-productive, because we are not aware of the extent of e-cigarette use or its harm in India,” added R.N. Sharan, Professor at North-Eastern Hill University in Shillong, Meghalaya.

An e-cigarette is a battery-operated device that uses a liquid “e-liquid” that may contain nicotine, as well as varying compositions of flavourings, propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, and other ingredients.

In tobacco cigarette, there is combustion, a burning of an organic material, which generates temperature up to 900 degree Celsius, and thus produces all the harmful material.

Whereas, in e-cigarettes there is neither combustion nor tobacco. There is only the burning of the liquid, made up of ingredients approved for food and contains minimal burning, which is 100-1000 times lower compared to tobacco cigarette.

A study published in the journal The Lancet showed that India has 11·2 per cent of the world’s total smokers. Over 11 per cent of 6.4 million deaths worldwide was caused by smoking in 2015 and 52.2 per cent of them took place in China, India, Russia, and the US, the report said.

Further, the experts contented that banning e-cigarettes is contrary to worldwide trends.

Various studies conducted in the US, UK and other countries in the European Union, have shown that e-cigarettes have resulted in a significant decline in smoking rates.

Several countries like Switzerland, Belgium, New Zealand, Canada and the US, which were formerly advocating for bans, are now moving towards lifting the bans on e-cigarettes, Farsalinos said.

“Earlier in July, the US FDA cancelled the intended regulation saying that e-cigarettes may probably help a substantial proportion of smokers to quit smoking and switch to less harmful alternative,” Farsalinos said.

“The UK’s Royal College of Physicians recently advised the UK Government to promote the use of e-cigarettes (along with conventional nicotine replacement methods) as widely as possible as a substitute for smoking,” Farsalinos stated.

A survey of over 27,000 participants all over Europe, published in Eurobarometer in 2016, showed that more than one-third of e-cigarette users polled reported smoking cessation and reduction.

“With India being devoid of good monitoring systems and rich data of research, it should take cue from these countries. Ignoring the evidence from other countries, while the country doesn’t have much of its own, and deciding on bans, can be a bad idea,” Farsalinos said.

Importantly, e-cigarettes appear to be effective when used by smokers as an aid to quitting smoking.

The hazard to health arising from long-term vapour inhalation from the e-cigarettes is unlikely to exceed five per cent of the harm from smoking tobacco, the experts said.

“While, its not absolutely safe, it is 95 per cent less harmful than tobacco cigarette,” Farsalinos said, adding: “We don’t recommend it to a non-smoker. We always say it’s a product for smokers, and should be used as a smoking substitute.”

However, it is best to quit smoking without use of any alternative.

Farsalinos said that although marketing for e-cigarettes is essential, it needs to be done with strict regulation.

There is also an urgent need to create a competitive environment between a less harmful product and tobacco cigarette, which includes accessibility and price, the experts said. (IANS)

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Ban on E-Cigarettes May Increase the Risk on the Public Health in India, Warn Experts

A prohibitive environment may harm more than allowing smokers, who wish to stop tobacco use, an alternative based on nicotine replacement via e-cigarettes

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E-cigarettes is considered to be safer than tobacco cigarettes. Pixabay
  • The primary cause of cancer is the constituents of the smoke in combustible tobacco, and other constituents in chewing tobacco
  • E-cigarettes are hand held electronic devices for creating a feeling of smoking tobacco
  • Banning of e-cigarettes could turn out to be disastrous for India which houses the second largest smoking population in the world

August 27, 2017: An outright ban on e-cigarettes without collecting any research data may put public health in India at greater risk, experts have warned.

While tobacco-associated cancer is easily preventable by cessation of tobacco usage, a prohibitive environment may do more harm than allowing smokers, who wish to cease tobacco use, an alternative option based on nicotine replacement via e-cigarettes, the experts said.

Also ReadE-cigarettes which have become popular among Adults, are not to be used by Children: US Health Official

 

The primary cause of cancer is not nicotine but the constituents of the smoke in combustible tobacco, and other constituents in chewing tobacco said M. Siddiqi, Chairman of Kolkata-based non-profit Cancer Foundation of India and R.N. Sharan, Professor of Biochemistry, North-Eastern Hill University in Shillong, Meghalaya.

 

E-cigarettes, also known as Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), considered to be safer than tobacco cigarettes, are hand held electronic devices that try to create a feeling of smoking tobacco.

They work by heating a liquid to generate an aerosol, commonly called a “vapor”, that the user inhales.

Banning of e-cigarettes/ENDS could be disastrous for India which houses the second largest smoking population in the world, Siddiqi and Sharan said in an appeal to Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda.

Modern technology which delivers safe nicotine in an acceptable form should be looked at as an alternative nicotine replacement option, they added. (IANS)