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

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

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

Yemen: UN envoy asks Security Council for more support ‘to move back’ to the negotiating table

‘Climate change is the battle of my life’, UN chief tells students living on the frontline in Fiji

Fostering intergenerational solidarity and cooperation through age-friendly environments: the right answer to Europe’s demographic challenge

Why a healthy planet and a healthy economy go hand-in-hand

How microfinance develops decent work

China, forever new adventures

How the EU crisis hit countries saved the German and French mega-banks from bankruptcy and still pay the costs

Fairer and clearer rules on social benefits for EU mobile workers agreed

CDNIFY @ TheNextWeb 2014

Mali just took a huge step towards universal healthcare

Towards the Rise of the United States of the Atlantic?

“Be aware where you put your I Agree signature on and something else”; now Facebook by default opts you in an unseen private data bazar

The Shifting Rhythms of Harmonious China: Ancient, Modern & Eternal

EU and China to do more in common if the global scene gets worse

Public opinion misled by the Commission on air transport safety

Want a more inclusive society? Start with mobility

EU Youth Conference in Amsterdam: enabling young people to engage in a diverse, connected and inclusive Europe

Macro-Financial Assistance: Europe’s way to control Ukraine?

From cheeseburgers to coral reefs, the science of decision-making can change the world

PM May fosters chauvinism, declares trade war on Europe

“The winner is who can accelerate the transition to a new digital era”. The Sting reports live from EBS 2015: a Digital Europe 4.0

Here’s how we can tackle the growing cybersecurity skills gap

Innovation can transform the way we solve the world’s water challenges

COP21 Breaking News_04 December: Launch of CREWS, climate risk & early warning systems

Mexico needs a new strategy to boost growth, fight poverty and improve well-being for all

New rules for short-stay visas: EP and Council reach a deal

Iraq: Over 150,000 children endangered by ‘freezing’ temperatures, warns UNICEF

Main results of Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) – 18-19/10/2018

This one small change could transform education for millions

Lessons from dealing with the collapse of Lehman Brothers

Will GDPR block Blockchain?

UN human rights chief denounces grave ‘assaults’ on fundamental rights of Palestinian people

Primary Health Care: in a world of specializations

Young people are Europe’s biggest value and hope

Can the EU last long if it cuts Cyprus out?

More unemployment and lower wages to make European workers competitive?

South Sudan’s foreseen genocide: from “Never Again” to “Again and Again and Again”?

Drones are saving lives in Tanzania’s remote communities

A Sting Exclusive: “EU’s Sustainable Finance Action Plan – Laying down the foundations for a Greener Financial System”, by European Commission’s Vice-President Dombrovskis

COP21 Breaking News_03 December: UNFCCC Secretariat Launches Forest Information Hub

Why the ECB prepares to flood the markets with more and free of charge euro; everybody needs that now

‘Staunch support’ for Iran nuclear deal tempered by concern over missile testing

Brussels Vs. Google: The €1 bn EU fine and the US response

The impact of refugees on the European healthcare system

Here’s how drone delivery will change the face of global logistics

‘End the ongoing atrocities’ against people with albinism in Malawi, say UN rights experts

The London City-EU connection holds despite of Brexit and the ban of LSE-Deutsche Börse merger

Anti-vaxxers are hurting vaccination campaigns. We need to fight back

“As German Chancellor I want to be able to cope with the merger of the real and digital economy”, Angela Merkel from Switzerland; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

The Netherlands is paying people to cycle to work

Gender parity can boost economic growth. Here’s how

The AI moment: preparing for the revolution

Lack of investment and ambition means Youth Guarantee not reaching potential

Here are 6 big ideas to help the environment

Mexico: UN chief saddened by pipeline blast in which dozens were killed

Climate negotiations on the road to a strong Paris agreement rulebook

These countries are ranked highest – and lowest – for human development

2nd Global Consultation on Migrant Health 21-23 February 2017 in Sri Lanka

Belgium: Youth Forum takes legal step to ban unpaid internships

UN pushes for universal health care on International Day

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