E-cigarettes are just as bad as traditional cigarettes and do not help you quit smoking

15.09.2022

E-cigarettes are just as bad as traditional cigarettes and do not help you quit smoking

By several names, an electronic cigarette has been introduced to the market that promises to be safer and more effective than conventional cigarettes, but doctors say there is research that proves the devices cause the same problems, except they are banned. The National Cancer Institute (INCA) warns that the use of electronic cigarettes increases the risk of experimenting with conventional cigarettes more than three times.

Popular mainly among young people, an electronic cigarette, also known as a vape, is an electronic device of various shapes that contains a battery and a place to place a concentrated liquid nicotine substance. The device heats that liquid, and the person using it inhales the steam. This type of cigarette was put on the market with the promise of being a replacement for conventional cigarettes, but there is no evidence of its effectiveness in the fight against smoking and no studies linking the use of the device to diseases. For this reason, the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) has banned all types of electronic smoking devices since 2009, including electronic cigarettes, in accordance with RDC Resolution no. 46. ​​The ban includes the commercialization, importation and advertising of all electronic smoking devices.

Are e-cigarettes bad for you?

Despite promising to be a less harmful option for health and supposedly helping to combat the consumption of traditional cigarettes, pulmonologist Helder Vinícius Ribeiro says there is no difference between the two products and highlights the damage the device can do. “Electronic cigarettes are bad for health, so much so that Anvisa has banned them in Brazil since 2009. It contains toxic and carcinogenic substances as well as ordinary cigarettes. It carries the risk of developing lung emphysema, bronchitis, sinusitis, cancer, heart problems and respiratory infections,” explains the pulmonologist who treats patients in Irati and Ponta Grossa.

Although it is not consumed in the same way as a traditional cigarette, and does not have some of the components present in a classic cigarette, the electronic cigarette has nicotine in its composition – a substance that causes dependence and addiction. Because of this, the consumption of electronic cigarettes is no longer healthy and can result in the same diseases.

Internal medicine and nephrology specialist Frederico Guarino de Oliveira Junior explains how electronic cigarettes work. “The electronic cigarette has a liquid with a vaporization mechanism that has a lot of nicotine in it. In fact, the only substance in it, at first, is nicotine and some flavorings, but its problem is nicotine, an addictive substance that can cause some cardiovascular diseases and lung problems, just like cigarettes. True, it does not have as many oncogenic substances (which can cause cancer) as a regular cigarette, but the damage to the lungs is practically the same, and cardiovascular diseases are the same,” explains the expert.

Studies

In addition, the use of electronic cigarettes by non-smokers can develop addiction even to traditional cigarettes. According to research by the National Cancer Institute (INCA), using e-cigarettes increases the risk of experimenting with conventional cigarettes by more than three times, and the risk of using cigarettes by more than four times. “Our results show that electronic cigarettes increase the chances of starting to use conventional cigarettes among those who have never smoked, contributing to slowing down the decline in the number of smokers in Brazil,” emphasizes INCA prevention and surveillance coordinator, medical epidemiologist Liz Almeida.

The article analyzed 22 studies from different countries, a total of 97,659 research participants for the outcome of the study. For the outcome of current use of conventional cigarettes (use in the last 30 days), nine studies from different countries, a total of 33,741 people, were also analyzed.

Although the traditional cigarette has already gone out of fashion, compared to previous decades, smoking is still one of the main causes of death, disease and costs to the health system, in addition to contributing to the deterioration of the quality of life of those who smoke. use. Despite this, there is a setback with the popularization of electronic cigarettes, mostly because it is a product whose target audience is a younger population. While the traditional cigarette was synonymous with glamor and was even promoted in movies and advertisements with celebrities in the past, vape cigarettes follow the same path that digital influencers and internet celebrities are currently taking.

The 2019 National Health Survey noted that 0.6% of the population already used electronic smoking devices in the country that year.

Another recent Covitel survey (a telephone survey of risk factors for chronic non-communicable diseases during a pandemic), conducted by Vital Strategies and the Federal University of Pelotas (UFPel), found that one in five young people in Brazil, aged 18 to 24, use electronic cigarettes.

Electronic cigarettes are prohibited

Irati Health Surveillance reiterates that the sale of electronic cigarettes, such as e-cigarettes, e-ciggy, e-pipe, e-cigarettes, heat not burn, Pods, Vaper and any derivatives is prohibited. Even with the ban on the commercialization, importation and advertising of electronic cigarettes throughout Brazil, these products can easily be found for sale on the Internet or even in street shops.

If both are bad, why is only one banned?

Due to their composition, electronic cigarettes can be just as harmful to health as traditional ones made of paper or straw. However, traditional national cigarettes are still allowed and sold, including the collection of tax on the product.

Even with the avalanche of information over the years about the harm that cigarettes cause to health, doctor Frederico Guaurino de Oliveira Junior attributes the continuity of traditional cigarettes to the economy and industry. “Traditional cigarettes are closely related to the tobacco industry, which is already an established industry in Brazil. There is the issue of tobacco farmers, which we have here in the region, so there are all these logistics that a ban on traditional cigarettes would produce a very large effect both in generating taxes for the country and in employment, because the chain of employment It is huge. Here in the region we have a lot of people who are addicted to tobacco, and as for electronic cigarettes, no, the only substance there is nicotine and it is not something that is produced here in Brazil. Therefore, it is much easier for the government to ban e-cigarettes than traditional cigarettes,” explains the doctor.

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In his opinion, it is unlikely that the traditional cigarette will one day withdraw from the Brazilian market. “I think banning traditional will be very difficult, practically impossible to tell the truth, because it generates a large tax for the country at the expense of traditional cigarettes and tobacco,” he adds.

It is worth remembering that no type of cigarette is safe. There are no safe doses to use and its use causes short-term and long-term harm. “No type of cigarette, whether battery operated or ‘pen drive style’, is safe. Just like a hookah and a cigarette on a straw. One hour of hookah is equivalent to smoking more than 60 cigarettes. A cigarette with a straw is equal to at least three regular cigarettes,” explains the doctor.

E-cigarettes are not an alternative

Electronic cigarettes appeared on the market allegedly as an option for those who wanted to give up traditional cigarettes. Years later, the false promise of a device that would cause fewer health problems has not materialized. On the contrary: with more options on the market, the device has become popular among young people and, although it is banned in Brazil, it is present in videos on social networks, at parties and events in general, promoting smoking.

Although they are different products and work in different ways, all types of cigarettes bring harm.

Recently, a new disease arose as a result of lung injury associated with the use of electronic cigarettes, explains pulmonologist Helder Vinícius Ribeiro. “E-cigarettes can even cause acute and serious respiratory illness by inhaling nicotine thinners called Evali, an acronym for lung disease associated with the use of electronic cigarette products. This disease proceeds with intense difficulty breathing, coughing, chest pains, with the risk of hospitalization due to respiratory failure,” the doctor describes.

Until last year, Irati had an anti-smoking program coordinated by the Municipal Health Department that was open to the general public and provided medical guidance and discussions for those interested in quitting. Currently, the program is no longer implemented in the municipality.

Tobacco kills 8 million people a year

The World Health Organization points out that tobacco kills more than 8 million people a year. More than 7 million of these deaths are the result of direct use of this product, while about 1.2 million are the result of non-smokers who were exposed to secondhand smoke. National No Tobacco Day, celebrated on August 29, emphasizes the importance of quitting smoking.

How to stop smoking?

Pulmonologist Helder Vinícius Ribeiro points out that the first step for someone to definitely stop smoking is their own initiative, the desire to change their health for the better. He suggests that, with medical supervision, the chances of effective treatment are higher. “The best way is to wish. 70% of quitting is willpower, determination, the decision to change your life and the courage to face the journey of quitting smoking. Medicines help to stop, but they have no effect on their own. A person must want to quit smoking, then the drug will be able to help. No medicine can make you quit smoking if you don’t have the willpower. Professional help is necessary, there are behavioral techniques that help avoid the desire to smoke and reduce the desire to smoke and relapse,” explains the pulmonologist.

Another tip is to remove the mental triggers that cause you to want to smoke. Throwing out the ashtray, writing down the time when you smoked your last cigarette, starting cigarettes every day later until you quit for good and telling those closest to you that your goal is to quit smoking can also help in the new phase of life.

Nicotine-based chewing gum and patches can also, if associated with appropriate medical and psychological monitoring, promote a life without any type of cigarette.

For non-smokers, giving up electronic cigarettes is the best way to avoid respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

Lenon Diego Gauron

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