Electronic Cigarettes: A booster or alternative to Smoking?

Vaping 2019 e-cigarette

(Dani Ramos, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Bruna Braga Kapusta, a 20 years old medical student in the 5th period of medicine at Unicesumar, Brazil. 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 nicotine dispensing devices (ENDSs), commonly known as e-cig, came with the intention of becoming an alternative to smoking, however, such objects face some obstacles, which makes their proposal debatable. Therefore, a first question is based on the limited nature of evidence regarding NSDSs, since e-cigs are expected to be less harmful to health than ordinary cigarettes, but there are no studies that prove that they are less damaging. This allows for a cautious stance by the WHO, which at the Convention on Tobacco Control has not presented itself as a ENDS advocate but willing to acknowledge the benefits of these if this is established through the studies. (1)

It should be noted that cigarettes may or may not contain nicotine, so it is expected that there is pressure from manufacturers to control not only the amount of nicotine but other carcinogenic substances. Unfortunately, this conduct is still flawed, given that there are divergences at this point, because in some countries e-cig are important treatments for those that were already common cigarettes, and on the other hand, these are considered illegal, but they are especially present among young people.

One of the main points is the question of ‘renormalization’ of the act of smoking, considering that this position has already been admired and considered a form of status, and that, in view of the results reflected in health, it has become the target of criticism and trivialization. Actions such as banning smoking in public places, advertisements through advertisements and campaigns about the ill effects of smoking have diminished the popularity of the tobacco trade. Therefore, before this fall, obviously, such companies would need a new investment, and this was done through the electronic cigarette. A technological device, attractive, compatible with modernity, which is said to be non-harmful to health, fit the requirements of a society corrupted by consumerism, where status issues stand out from one’s health. (2)

Obviously such a situation becomes more attractive to young nonsmokers than those smokers for some time. It is in this scenario that e-cigs become as or even more dangerous than ordinary cigarettes, since nonsmokers feel safe starting this habit because they do not believe in harm or know the risks of ENDS.

One notes a flawed speech when it is said about an alternative to smoking, since to be a safe option, there should be proofs of how much e-cigs are less harmful, so it’s no use changing only the vehicle, the use of these substances will still be present, bringing disastrous consequences for the human being, being cancer one of these results.

Therefore, since there is no evidence on electronic cigarettes, the key would be to treat them as harmful to health until this vision is effectively modified, as this would act as a measure of safety to the population.


  1. Conference of the Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Sixth session. 13–18 October 2014, Moscow, Russian Federation
  2. Fiona Fleck. Armando Peruga. Countries vindicate cautious stance on e-cigarettes. 2014. Bulletin of the World Health Organization; 92:856-857. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.2471/BLT.14.031214

About the author

Bruna Braga Kapusta is 20 years old and in the 5th period of medicine at Unicesumar, Brazil. She is part of NUPEC – nucleus of scientific research of the IFMSA Brasil Unicesumar and holds the position of academic director of the League of Pulmonology (LAMAP). She participates in the League of Intensive Care Medicine (LAMIM) and the Academic Center in the marketing department.


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