Is vaping safe?

Muna Al-Fuzai

In the last few days, there has been an intensive debate about vaping after six people died in the US, apparently from smoking e-cigarettes, while hundreds of others have contracted lung diseases. There is a new theory now about vaping – that people should quit.

The question remains – is vaping worse than smoking? Can people be forced to quit?

It seems this topic is between those who smoke and those who don’t or hate smoking for their own reasons. While we may witness new measures and rules about selling e-cigarettes, I think a total ban may not be easy to impose because it is a big profitable trade, and as long as money is being made, misuse by the public is not the fault of merchants. I am not defending the product or the merchants here, but this is the reality.

Here is why. On Sept 11, the US administration said it intends to ban non-tobacco flavored vaping fluid, with some politicians demanding a ban on all e-cigarettes. US health authorities are alarmed by the rise in popularity of e-cigarettes that enable users to inhale addictive nicotine liquids that are often fruit flavored. I think it is a normal situation of concern due to health scares.

An e-cigarette is a handheld battery-powered vaporizer that simulates smoking without burning tobacco. A global controversy over the safety of vapes is ongoing, as some believe they have similar effects as regular cigarettes when used for a long period. Some reports said the recent vaping deaths in America did not come from products bought in a shop, but from badly-made items sold on the street or mixing vape fluid with oil, which should not enter the lungs. If inhaled, oil causes the type of symptoms that smokers display.

E-cigarettes are new to the market and need further studies to fully determine their health risks for the public to believe such statements and stop using it by their own free will. Some specialists are arguing that e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is found in tobacco, and causes addiction. Some say that a total ban may lead former smokers to conventional cigarettes.

I believe one of the best ways to handle this issue is to regulate an age for buying e-cigarettes, to make it is hard for kids and teenagers. But this is only one way, as misuse by people and where they buy it are personal factors. I think advertising is also leading teenagers to the use of e-cigarettes, especially when introducing flavors like mint and vanilla. So, manufacturing companies should never present this product as a safe alternative to regular smoking, because there is no proof.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said with US President Donald Trump’s approval, the FDA is working on a “guidance document” that would prohibit all flavors barring tobacco. I think we may soon witness new rules in this regard.

By Muna Al-Fuzai
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