Electronic cigarette: a still controversial qualitative imbalance

vaping e-cigarette

(Dylan Nolte, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Lucas Gheller Machado is 18 years old and he courses the second year of medicine. Currently, he is a member and analyst of the Nucleus of Scientific Research (NUPEC) by IFMSA Brazil UniCesumar, member of the Academic League of Intensive Medicine of Maringá (LAMIM) and member of the Academic League of Forensic Medical Sciences of Maringá (LAMFMA). 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.

The use of drugs for self-satisfaction, escape from reality or social acceptance is a very cultivated option in contemporary society, and can be exemplified by the exacerbated consumption of tobacco. Therefore, other methods have been developed to mitigate the consequences of its use, either by the simulation of the structure or by the act of smoking. In this context, the electronic cigarette arises, a device structurally mechanical with electronic characteristics, responsible for attracting a large population contingent.

Electronic Smoking Devices (DEF), popularly known as electronic cigarettes, are mostly battery powered devices, containing a cartridge made up of liquid (nicotine, propylene glycol, flavorings, etc.). From the suction, a sensor activates the vaporizer, which initiates vaporization of the liquid contained in the cartridge. This way of operation reflects possible mechanical (from handling or electrical circuits) and chemical damages – caused by harmful substances.

According to the National Cancer Institute (INCA), current studies show that such devices are not ideal for consumption, because they have cytotoxic and carcinogenic substances, and a relatively unstable structure. This was proven by the emergence of cases of intoxication, by substance, and explosion, by structural instability. Therefore, despite being widely publicized as an extremely beneficial innovation, it is now possible to observe negative points that substantiate governmental, non-governmental and public opinion.

In 2019, a study conducted in the province of Ontorio (Canada) and another in the United States, from chromatography / spectrometry and turbidimetry tests, respectively, revealed that electronic cigarettes have excess risk components such as flavoring chemicals and nitrosamines carcinogens, which may be contaminated with microbial toxins. In this way, it is possible to associate the biological risks – scientifically proven – with the contamination routes, evidencing a complex dangerous for the health of the population.

In Brazil, the National Agency for Sanitary Surveillance (Anvisa), supported by Resolution No. 46, of August 28, 2009, seeks to prohibit the marketing, importation and advertising of DEFs in national territory. However, in practice it is possible to observe that control and inspection measures can not stop the advance of electronic cigarettes, a fact that is increasingly consolidated in the Brazilian reality. In order to minimize the impacts of tobacco as well as to demystify the controversies over electronic cigarettes, the Global Tobacco Surveillance System (GTSS) should establish alliances with the public and private spheres of each nation to further encourage the collection of data on tobacco use and the main control measures in place. Nevertheless, the World Health Organization (WHO), in partnership with the United Nations, should establish that the guidelines discussed in the Conferences of the Parties (COPs) be widely disseminated in the national media, in order to clarify the subject for the population. Finally, the Brazilian government must continuously promote and publicize the treatment of smoking offered by the Health Unic System (SUS), which is unknown to many people.Therefore, national and supranational integrative actions will promote global awareness and scientific research, solving the present difficulties.


Identification of flavouring chemicals and potential toxicants in e-cigarette products in Ontario, Canada.

Disponível em: https://link.springer.com/article/10.17269%2Fs41997-019-00208-1

Endotoxin and [Formula: see text] Contamination in Electronic Cigarette Products Sold in the United States.

Disponível em: https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/10.1289/EHP3469

Legislação – Por tipo

Disponível em: https://www.inca.gov.br/observatorio-da-politica-nacional-de-controle-do-tabaco/legislacao-por-tipo

Dados e números da prevalência do tabagismo

Disponível em: https://www.inca.gov.br/observatorio-da-politica-nacional-de-controle-do-tabaco/dados-e-numeros-prevalencia-tabagismo

Conferência das Partes

Disponível em: https://www.inca.gov.br/observatorio-da-politica-nacional-de-controle-do-tabaco/conferencia-partes-convencao-quadro

INCA lança publicação sobre cigarro eletrônico

Disponível em: https://www.inca.gov.br/noticias/inca-lanca-publicacao-sobre-cigarro-eletronico

Dados e números da prevalência do tabagismo

Disponível em: https://www.inca.gov.br/observatorio-da-politica-nacional-de-controle-do-tabaco/dados-e-numeros-prevalencia-tabagismo

Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS)

Disponível em: https://www.who.int/tobacco/surveillance/survey/gats/en/


Disponível em: http://bvsms.saude.gov.br/bvs/saudelegis/anvisa/2009/res0046_28_08_2009.html

Tratamento do tabagismo

Disponível em: https://www.inca.gov.br/programa-nacional-de-controle-do-tabagismo/tratamento

SUS oferece tratamento para quem deseja parar de fumar

Disponível em: http://www.blog.saude.gov.br/index.php/entenda-o-sus/51047-sus-oferece-tratamento-para-quem-deseja-parar-de-fumar

About the author

Lucas Gheller Machado is 18 years old and he courses the second year of medicine. Currently, he is a member and analyst of the Nucleus of Scientific Research (NUPEC) by IFMSA Brazil UniCesumar, member of the Academic League of Intensive Medicine of Maringá (LAMIM) and member of the Academic League of Forensic Medical Sciences of Maringá (LAMFMA). In addition, he participates constantly in social actions by Humanizart, aimed at assisting vulnerable populations, and collaborating with humanization in streets and hospitals. His objective is to combine graduation with scientific and artistic development, constituting a formation of solid and essential pillars.


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