Dushyant Singh Pundir
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, August 19
Use of e-cigarettes by non-smokers can lead to nicotine addiction and regular smoking. “Studies have found that youths using e-cigarettes are more likely to use regular cigarettes later. E-cigarettes increase the likelihood to experiment with regular tobacco products and increase intention to indulge in smoking,” said Dr Rakesh Kapoor, Department of Radiotherapy, PGIMER.
Electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) or e-cigarettes are devices that do not burn or use tobacco leaves as in case of traditional cigarettes, but instead vapourise a flavoured solution which the user inhales. The solution contains a varying concentration of nicotine, an addictive chemical found in cigarettes and other forms of tobacco products.
The World Health Organisation has not yet certified e-cigarettes to be a safe alternative to cigarettes as the emissions from electronic cigarettes contain chemicals, some of them considered to be toxicants.
A recent report prepared by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) states that these devices also contain other ingredients as flavouring agents and vapourisers which are also found to be harmful for health. The e-cigarettes produce an aerosolised mixture of the flavoured liquids and nicotine, which is inhaled by the user. Nicotine is considered as one of the most addictive substances and it poses the potential risk of a person being addicted to it throughout life.
E-cigarette use adversely impacts the cardiovascular system, impairs respiratory immune cell function and airways in a way similar to cigarette smoking and is responsible for severe respiratory disease. It also poses risk to foetus, infant, and child brain development. E-cigarettes are also harmful to non-users.
Dr Kapoor said, “E-cigarettes are manufactured in a way to resemble traditional tobacco products like cigarettes, pipes, cigars, and common gadgets like flash drives, flashlights or pens.”
Based on scientific data, the ICMR had recently recommended a complete ban on ENDS or e-cigarettes in India in the greater interest of protecting public health.
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