By: Natasha Archary
We’re in a world where there seems to be an “e-everything” these days. E-books, e-mail, e-wallets and, what do you know, an e-cigarette. Vaping and e-ciggies have taken over a huge chunk of the traditional smoking market, the world over. Claiming to be cheaper, more convenient and safer than a regular smoke.
More South Africans are making the switch to vaping and with more “flavour” pods than most cigarette brands offer it all seems too good to be true. Is vaping actually all that vapers make it out to be?
Myths and Facts
Myth: E-cigarettes are safer than cigarettes
Fact: E-cigarettes and vaping products are unregulated smoking products. With a bunch of flavours and brands on the market, none of them have been thoroughly evaluated.
Myth: Vaping products don’t contain nicotine
Fact: Almost all e-cigarettes contain nicotine, even those claiming to be nicotine-free. They do however contain no tobacco.
Myth: E-cigarettes can help you quit smoking
Fact: There isn’t enough substantive proof that it helps to quit traditional smoking. There is nicotine in the vapor and nicotine is an addictive substance that is just as dangerous to your health.
Myth: The age restriction alone is enough
Fact: There is a higher percentage of youth in the country who vape than smoke. Numbers have tripled in the past year and with cartoon character and candy flavours available, teenagers are more likely to try vaping. Making vaping seem like the cool new trend has drawn in underage consumers.
Myth: There are no second-hand emissions from e-cigarettes
Fact: Of course there are. The aerosol/vapor released by an e-cigarette and exhaled by users contain cancer-causing carcinogens much the same as a cigarette. Little is known about the side effects of vaping, the emissions released and the potential harm they can cause.
New York-based toxicologist, Irfan Rahman, has investigated some of the claims by young vapers who complained of slow-to-heal mouth sores, “smoker’s cough” and other unusual concerns. His latest data confirms that e-cigarette vapors inflame mouth cells, damages tissues around in the gum and makes it difficult for your lungs to repair damaged cells.
Children as young as twelve or thirteen are now more likely to vape than smoke. Many, parents included, feel that with the lack of tobacco in these products that there is nothing wrong with the habit. So it’s allowed. But this could not be further from the truth. Smokers cough and “bloody sores” have been found to be common in teenagers who vape around the world. With a new trend called “dripping” which increases the heat generated on the gel liquid. The hotter a vaped liquid gets, the harsher its effects on the user.
South Africa is still up in arms over the regulatory confusion around e-cigarettes in the country. E-cigarettes are not covered by either the Tobacco Products Control Act or by the Medicines and Related Substances Control Act. The Vapour Production Association is South Africa have voluntarily committed to restricting the sales of these products to any person under the age of 18.
Regulations will not move to ban either cigarettes or vaping products, the sin tax is just too sweet a deal to cut. But the next time a vaper tells you there’s nothing to be worried about with the second-hand emissions, you’re equipped to tell them otherwise.