Wednesday May 22, 2019

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.

ALSO READ: Dumping Illegal Plastic Waste in Asia Leads to Killing of Crops and Causes Health Problems

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)

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Study Claims, Effective Way To Quit Smoking Emerges To Be E-Cigarettes

According to the team, "despite increasing awareness and regulatory measures to discourage cigarette smoking, the tobacco burden across the world has not shown significant decline over the years".

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smoking
The study authoritatively concluded that newer generation ENDS was an efficient means of meeting the nicotine demand, and could help the cigarette smoking population quit the addiction and prevent tobacco harm reduction. Pixabay

A first-ever Indian study has found that Electronic Nicotine Delivery System (ENDS), also known as e-cigarettes, pose much less a health risk than combustible cigarettes and could be an ideal tool to reduce or give up smoking.

Published in the Indian Journal of Clinical Practice (IJCP), the study, involving a “systematic review of 299 published scientific literatures”, was conducted by Prof R.N. Sharan and his team from the North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong. It compared the toxicities of nicotine, other chemicals and metal ions produced during cigarette smoking and use of e-cigarettes.

According to the team, “despite increasing awareness and regulatory measures to discourage cigarette smoking, the tobacco burden across the world has not shown significant decline over the years”. In such a scenario, alternatives for tobacco harm reduction like ENDS or e-cigarettes, need to be evaluated.

Prof Sharan told IANS: “This up-to-date systematic review and meta-analysis is the first attempt by experts in India to audit the health and safety aspects of conventional cigarette smoking and ENDS in order to objectively evaluate the suitability of ENDS as a less harmful alternative to conventional smoking.”

The study authoritatively concluded that newer generation ENDS was an efficient means of meeting the nicotine demand, and could help the cigarette smoking population quit the addiction and prevent tobacco harm reduction.

smoking
Also, use of ENDS was found to be 7.53 times higher in smokers than in non-smokers, which indicates that, contrary to perception, e-cigarettes are less likely to be a gateway to nicotine use but are more likely used by smokers to reduce tobacco harm or quit smoking. Pixabay

Among the key findings, the experts concluded that toxic chemicals such as carcinogens and other toxicants were found in significantly higher quantities in conventional cigarette smoke as compared to the vapour from an e-cigarette.

“For instance, metal ion Cadmium, which is a Class 1 carcinogen, a respiratory, reproductive and developmental toxicant, was found to be over 1,369 times higher in cigarette smoke than ENDS vapour. Similarly, Lead and Chromium, which are Class 2a probable carcinogens, were over 12 and 13 times, more respectively in cigarette smoke.”

Cigarette smoke was also found to have “significantly higher levels of Class 1 carcinogens such as formaldehyde (over 8 fold), benzene (22 fold) and NNK (over 92 fold), and Class 2a probable carcinogens, including acetaldehyde (over 91 fold), Propanediol (over 53 fold) and Isoprene (over 17 fold), among others, in comparison to vapour of e-cigarette.”

On the other hand, however, the study also found that Nickel, a Class 2b possible carcinogen, was four-fold more in e-cigarette vapour than in cigarette smoke.

The researchers also found that the risk of acute toxicity from direct ingestion of nicotine was highly unlikely to arise due to e-cigarette use, as ENDS delivered about 1mg of nicotine in blood (equivalent or lower to a cigarette), whereas it’s known toxic level was in the range of 30-60 mg.

Speaking about the possible risks arising from the physical makeup or design of ENDS devices, the study warned that, “Poor materials and build quality, lack of quality control and improper use of ENDS can give rise to a potential accident hazard called “thermal runaway” in lithium rechargeable batteries.

However, the experts added that “with technological advancement and optimisation of safety features, these concerns can be adequately addressed.”

Finally, the authors of the study found that “ENDS usage was higher among former smokers than non-smokers by nearly 4.13 fold, signifying that they could potentially become a useful aid in smoking cessation.

smoking
Among the key findings, the experts concluded that toxic chemicals such as carcinogens and other toxicants were found in significantly higher quantities in conventional cigarette smoke as compared to the vapour from an e-cigarette.Pixabay

“Also, use of ENDS was found to be 7.53 times higher in smokers than in non-smokers, which indicates that, contrary to perception, e-cigarettes are less likely to be a gateway to nicotine use but are more likely used by smokers to reduce tobacco harm or quit smoking.

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The team comprised Dr. Sambuddha Das and Dr. Yashmin Choudhury from Assam University, and Dr S. Thangminlal Vaiphei from Central University of Rajasthan.

Prof Sharan, who is a former President of the Indian Society for Radiation Biology, said: “Through this study, we have called for rational policy-making with the objective of maximising benefits and minimising potential risks by extending the benefits of ENDS to smokers who choose to use them as smoking cessation tools, while preventing the misuse of ENDS by never smokers, adolescents and children.” (IANS)