Could peacefully vaping present a danger?

[17 نوفمبر 2014 - 17h25]

Less toxic than tobacco, electronic cigarettes help many smokers to reduce the amount they smoke. For some people, this device can even prove to be more effective than nicotine patches. But e-cigarettes do contain harmful fine particles. So do the risks associated with vaping outweigh its benefits?

“Anything that can help smokers quit is good to try, including electronic cigarettes”, declared Marisol Touraine on 25 September 2014 at the launch of France’s National Smoking Reduction Programme (PNRT). But just a few months later, the health minister announced the possible banning of e-cigarettes in all public places from 2015 to reduce smoking.

Less toxic than cigarettes…

In response to this ambivalence, the effectiveness of e-cigarettes in helping to quit smoking has been proven by a study involving 5,863 smokers. “In total, 20% of ‘vapers’ managed to stop smoking, compared with 10% for those who used a nicotine substitute and 15% for smokers who had stopped without any help”, revealed the researchers who worked on this study published on 21 June 2014 in the journal Revue Addiction.

Two months later, the authors of an American study stated – on the contrary – that vaping encourages smoking more than it helps support quitting. “E-cigarettes can become a gateway to smoking by exposing young people to nicotine and by ‘relegitimising’ the use of tobacco in society”, they stated in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Due to the short timescale involved, there are currently no studies to confirm this trend. But every day, 200 people in France die from a disease directly linked to smoking. The health authorities are already calling for smokers to be more aware of the impact of cigarettes, both electronic and other.

…but not without risk

Compared with tobacco, e-cigarettes have a much lower level of toxic substances. The undesirable effects associated with them are therefore less significant. However, the aerosol found in e-cigarettes contains carcinogenic fine particles such as formaldehyde. This toxicity was recently highlighted by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

And finally, as well as the action of smoking, what e-cigarettes share in common with traditional tobacco is the presence of nicotine. Though not carcinogenic, this addictive substance can accelerate the development of a tumour already present and slow down the development of the brain in unborn children and adolescents.



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