E-cigarettes help quit smoking. No wait, they don’t! They do but they don’t! Year 2016 has seen a hodgepodge of studies for and against e-cigarettes and their propensity to help quit smoking. Just when one finding sinks in, another surfaces to negate it. A new University of Southern California survey has found out that vaping e-cigarettes tremendously increases the risk of heavy smoking among 10th graders.
In a correspondence published in JAMA, Adam M Leventhal, a research scholar at University of Southern California, concludes that adolescents who vape e-cigarettes have a higher tendency to smoke combustible cigarettes and become permanent smokers. The use of e-cigarettes is reported by 37% of US high school students.
The correspondence was in regard with the decision of World Health Organization (WHO) to suggest imposing restrictions on e-cigarettes in various countries. Their decision will be discussed in the coming days in the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in India.
It is unknown whether many adolescents who vape eventually experiment with conventional nicotine cigarettes or turn into heavy smokers because they use e-cigarettes as a cessation method. In addition, adolescents who vape could be more likely to reduce nicotine dependence due to conventional cigarettes.
Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), or also known as e-cigarettes, produce a vapor which the user inhales. This vapor contains volatile organic compounds, aromatic hydrocarbons, tobacco-specific nitrosamines, metals such as chromium, nickel and silicates. Some e-cigarettes contain nicotine to add an experience closely related to “smoking”.
The Truth About E-Cigarettes – Should You Or Should You Not Use Them?
The WHO states that out of 105 studies conducted on e-cigarettes, 30% of scientists and researchers had received funding from the tobacco industry, indicating that these studies were not credible.
Multinational tobacco companies market and advertise e-cigarettes among children and adolescents and this makes tobacco control exceedingly difficult, especially as e-cigarettes has been termed as “safe” and “nicotine free” by tobacco companies.
Although most e-cigarettes are tobacco free, some of them contain nicotine and any exposure to these e-cigarettes may increase nicotine dependence of the user. Moreover, there are over 8,000 different flavors of e-cigarettes, such as vanilla, chocolate and cinnamon and these are linked with severe health risks.
Additionally, e-cigarettes are associated with higher health risks in children and newborns. Children who are exposed to e-cigarettes have a 5.3 times higher chance of being admitted to a medical facility and had a 2.6 times higher chance of developing severe medical conditions.
This is in comparison to children who are exposed to smoke of nicotine cigarettes. The vapor from e-cigarettes causes problems like skin irritation, life-threatening risks with and without residual disability.
Due to these health hazards the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in USA has decided to regulate e-cigarettes. The authority imposed regulations in order to protect the American people from the harmful effects of tobacco and e-cigarettes.
The FDA will now overlook all e-cigarettes manufactured and made in America and companies will have to get approval from the institution to sell their products.
Numerous researches conducted on e-cigarettes have been in contradiction with each other. Despite the health risks of these devices, a Cochrane review confirms that e-cigarettes help smokers deal with nicotine dependence and help them quit smoking without conferring any serious side effects although throat and mouth irritations were commonly reported as a short term side effect.
The researchers were still not sure if e-cigarettes were more effective as nicotine patches in helping smokers to quit.
A Cochrane review is of the highest standard and is internationally recognized as being highly credible.
On a similar note, the Royal College of Physicians has suggested that e-cigarettes can help in reducing the harmful effects of smoking if smokers turn to e-cigarettes, as they contain only 5% of the side effects of smoking.
The physicians indicate that although the use of nicotine replacement therapy helps people quit and has been marketed as a ‘medicine’ of sorts, the use of e-cigarettes attracts more people to effectively quit smoking.
In addition, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in a survey found out that tobacco use among high school students was at its lowest in 25 years but the use of e-cigarettes was increasing among the new generation.
The 2015 National Youth Risk Survey indicated that 11% of students smoked one or more cigarettes within the last 30 days while the frequency was 28% back in 1991. It indicated a lower usage of nicotine products among young adults. However, this was associated with 28% increase of teens using electronic cigarettes.
The National Health Service (NHS) of England says that e-cigarettes help you quit smoking although no e-cigarettes on the market is licensed as medicine which means no physician can “prescribe” an electronic cigarette if you are looking for cessation methods on lessening nicotine dependence.
E-cigarettes do not produce tar and carbon monoxide, which are two of the main toxins in nicotine cigarettes that lead to slow degradation of the body. They do contain harmful chemicals but are at a much lower levels as compared to nicotine cigarettes.
Still new rules and regulations have been implied on e-cigs and their refill containers and these rules ensure the minimum safety standards for all such devices.