Is Vaping More Harmful Than Smoking Cigarettes?

  • 17 Jun 2019
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We may have friends who have switched to vaping devices, or electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), hoping to get off their cigarette smoking habit. 

But there is still a debate on whether vaping devices and e-cigarettes are actually less harmful than cigarettes.

Vapers and industry advocates say vaping and e-cigarettes are "healthier" than conventional cigarettes, as they only contain nicotine, and not tobacco, tar, and other harmful chemicals contained in cigarettes. 

The contents of these devices also do not burn, but only produces vapour, and are thus "healthier" than cigarettes, they say.

Research, however, has shown that nicotine itself is highly addictive and can cause heart problems, as well as harm childrens' brains.

The actual make up of an electronic smoking or vaping device is also unclear - critics say it contains formaldehyde, which is used in building materials, and another ingredient used in antifreeze that has been found to cause cancer. 

The flavouring used in a vaping device is also reported to contain diacetyl - a food additive which can be dangerous when inhaled. 

Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye recently said the government has no plans to ban the sale of e-cigarettes and vaping, pending the result of a study currently being conducted to gauge their effects.

Instead, the government will tighten regulations to curb any health risk that may arise from the use of the devices. A Bill is being drafted for this purpose. 

The National Cancer Society of Malaysia (NCSM) recently said vape liquids should be immediately banned because they're being laced with drugs, The Malaysian Muslim Doctors Organisation (Perdim) also voiced similar concerns. 

Perdim central committee member Dr Zubaidi Ahmad said the level of nicotine in an e-cigarette or vaping device is two to three times more than that in a cigarette. There can be between four to 12 miligrams (mg) of nicotine in the devices, as opposed to three mg in a cigarette, he added. 

Does it help with quitting smoking?

Besides these, some also question if vaping devices or e-cigarettes actually help smokers quit. Some smokers use cigarettes, as well as either of the devices. 

Critics also claim vaping is attracting more youths, who were previously non-smokers, to pick up the habit, due to its various flavourings, and the lack of cigarette smoke. This results in nicotine-addicted youngsters eventually developing smoking habits as they get older. 

Apart from the potential harm they cause to the insides of a person, such devices have also been reported to cause physical harm, and in some cases, even kill its user. 

In February this year, a 24-year-old man in the US died when an e-cigarette exploded in his face. In May last year, a 38-year-old, also in the US, died in a similar accident. There have also been reported cases of vaping devices and e-cigarettes, exploding or catching fire, sometimes in users' pockets. 

As the debate rages on around this issue, one thing is certain - the habit of smoking "alternative" devices has caught on like wild fire, especially among the youths. 

Source: Bernama, The Star,,,

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