Do electronic cigarettes produce adverse health effects?

vaping 2019

(Nery Zarate, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Roberto Antonio Vásquez Morel, a fifth-year medical student at the Universidad Nacional Pedro Henríquez Ureña (UNPHU), in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

Electronic cigarettes, also known as vaping or the electronic nicotine delivery system, are smoking devices that typically contain flavored nicotine and other chemicals. There are more than 460 electronic cigarette devices on the market, and each year they become more popular.1

The use of these types of cigarettes has increased over the past five years becoming a public health concern. The teens and young adults’ population are being affected developing future potential health risks. This prevalence is due because it is more attractive, easier to use, portable and less harm to health. According to the survey of the US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the use of e-cigarettes among high school and middle school students have increased 78% and 48% during the period of 2017-2018 respectively.2 In order to dispel myths about the effects of electronic cigarettes, there is a need to create awareness of its adverse health effects and promote cessation of this toxic behavior.

First, electronic cigarettes have nicotine, which is the same component in normal tobacco. Nicotine is a chemical addictive that cause people to smoke repeatedly. Once it is inhaled in just one smoke, it is readily absorbed in the lungs, travels in the circulatory system to reach the adrenal glands and activates epinephrine for release in the bloodstream. This epinephrine hormone stimulates the central nervous system that activates the brain’s reward circuits and increases the level of dopamine. It also increases blood pressure, respiratory rate, and cardiac frequency.1

Moreover, electronic cigarettes also contain other dangerous chemicals, such as acetaldehyde, acrolein, and formaldehyde, which can cause acute lung injury, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, lung cancer, and cardiovascular diseases.3 There are more negative attributes to the use of these new cigarette devices since they can cause more damage than  normal tobacco use. Unfortunately, the population that uses these devices are increasing without having the knowledge of these harmful health effects. This is an important concern to take care because is making the youth population more additive and its side effects are damaging the brain development which is crucial in this stage of life.

The side effects of these different components can have long lasting effects. The constant use can lead to a bad prognostic, with little probability of restoration to optimum health. Therefore, the previous disseminated information that stated “e-vaporizers are safe to health” is genuinely incorrect. As health professionals, we need to educate our patients on evidence-based health information to better inform our patients and their health decision-making.

In summary, both electronic cigarettes and traditional tobacco cigarettes can produce harmful health effects. The toxins and carcinogenic substances from electronic cigarettes that are inhaled in one smoke can damage numerous organ systems. By knowing the side effects, we can build a solid global consciousness that will reduce present and future use of the electronic nicotine delivery system and reduce morbidity and mortality associated with this toxic behavior. This is what we need to have in mind as future health promoters because the key of medicine is not to treat diseases but to prevent it.


  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Electronic cigarettes (eE-cigarettes) [internet]. 2018 [cited 2019 Apr 22]. Available at:
  2. Simon S. FDA proposes regulations as teen e-cigarette use skyrockets 78% in 1 year [internet]. 2019 [cited 2019 Apr 24]. Available at:
  3. American Lung Association. (2019). E-cigarettes and lung health [internet]. 2019 [cited 2019 Apr 22]. Available at:

About the author

Roberto Antonio Vásquez Morel is a fifth-year medical student at the Universidad Nacional Pedro Henríquez Ureña (UNPHU), in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He is a current member of the Standing Committee on Research Exchange (SCORE) and the social network coordinator of the Publication Support Division of ODEM (IFMSA-Dominican Republic).












the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Berlin vies for a Germanic European Central Bank

Is sub-Saharan Africa ready for the electric vehicle revolution?

First-ever World Braille Day underscores importance of written language for human rights

Educational disadvantage starts from age 10

External action: more funds for human rights, development and climate change

We need a global convention to end workplace sexual harassment

How cities are failing to be inclusive – and what they can do about it

EU to spend €6 billion on youth employment and training futile schemes

TTIP’s 11th round starts in Miami but EU-US businesses see no sunny side

MWC 2016 LIVE: Mobile Connect availability hits 2B

Thursday’s Daily Brief: Albinism, displacement in Central America, family-friendly nations, updates on the Gulf and Darfur

The MWC14 Sting Special Edition

Why will Paris upcoming “loose” climate change agreement work better than the previous ones?

Mental Health Policy, a significant driver for growth

We’ve lost 60% of wildlife in less than 50 years

IMF: How can Eurozone avoid stagnation

Why medical students decide to study abroad?

Stronger European Border and Coast Guard to secure EU’s borders

Greece returns to markets at a high cost to taxpayers, after four years out in the cold

Backed by UN agency, countries set to take on deadly livestock-killing disease

Female African coders ‘on the front-line of the battle’ to change gender power relations: UN chief

Refugee crisis update: EU still lacks solidarity as Hungary and Slovakia refuse to accept EU Court’s decision

How cities can lead the way in bridging the global housing gap

Khashoggi murder trials must public and meet international standards, UN expert urges

Main results of EU-Japan summit which took place on 25/04/2019 in Brussels

How smart tech helps cities fight terrorism and crime

Cocaine and opium production worldwide hit ‘absolute record highs’ – major threat to public health says UN study

New identity cards deliver recognition and protection for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh

Migration and rule of law on next ACP-EU Parliamentary Assembly agenda

The UK remains in the EU until a new Brexit date is set

Syria still suffering ‘staggering levels’ of humanitarian need, Security Council hears

How to have a good Fourth Industrial Revolution

Children who exercise have more brain power, finds study

The Commission favours the cultivation of more GMOs in Europe

Dual Food Quality: Commission releases study assessing differences in the composition of EU food products

Corporate tax remains a key revenue source, despite falling rates worldwide

Afghanistan: top UN official denounces ‘extreme’ suffering of civilians in Ghazni

UN rights chief ‘strongly’ condemns ‘shocking’ mass executions in Saudi Arabia

Working Muslim women are a trillion-dollar market

New Zealand has unveiled its first ‘well-being’ budget

G20 starts to tackle inequality

These are the benefits of learning a second language

Erdogan vies to become Middle East Sultan over Khashoggi’s killing

Facebook: MEPs demand a full audit by EU bodies to assess data protection

These countries are leading the charge to clean energy

Statement by the Brexit Steering Group on UK government White paper

Will AI make the gender gap in the workplace harder to close?

UN recognises role of sport in achieving sustainable development

Eurozone close to agreeing on a Banking Union


Restore hope that peace will come to the Middle East, UN negotiator urges Security Council

The power of digital tools to transform mental healthcare

Post-Brexit muddled times: the resignation of UK’s top ambassador and Theresa May’s vague plans

What is the UN General Assembly and what does it do?

MEPs Anti-fraud votes for more votes?

More women than ever before are running for political office in the US

Impossible Brexit options: WTO or new referendum?

Peru should help more young vulnerable people into work

Employment and Social Developments in Europe: 2018 review confirms positive trends but highlights challenges, in particular linked to automation and digitalisation

We can feed the world in a sustainable way, but we need to act now

More Stings?


  1. Roberto should not start his career by writing articles about things he is clueless about.
    Better delete this silly skim of “article”. Its harmful.

  2. From memory this is the 2nd such article from a medical student in the last 7 days to be published here. Once again it represents a very shallow knowledge of the subject that has been extensively covered by such august bodies as the Royal College of Physicians who conclude ” Promote e-cigarettes widely as substitute for smoking says new RCP report” – Google it !

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s