It’s just electronic cigarette, don’t worry?

vaping smoking 19

(Itay Kabalo, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Juchiac Anita –Varvara, a fourth year medical student from Timisoara, Romania. She 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.

What do you associate smoking with? Cancer, serious health problems, social activity, peer pressure and others. What if someone comes in and says that they have a healthier alternative to classic smoking? You will tend to take the bait and believe them; after all, it’s an electronic cigar they are presenting.

Just heating up some oils and inhaling the flavored vapor produced, sometimes even without nicotine. Some will say it’s for the purpose of quitting smoking all together, some will use it to bypass the free smoking laws some countries have (as Romania does too),  maybe some are just curious. But how healthy are they really?  How do they affect the general population which is using one? Where is the point when we start to worry of their use?

Let’s go back to point one, the actual base of an electronic cigar. We have a device which heats up a liquid, or e-liquid as it’s called. What does that liquid contain? Usually propylene glycol, glycerin, water, nicotine and flavorings. Up so far you will maybe have a tendency to say that it contains less harmful ingredients as a classic cigar, and on this even the FDA approves.

They do contain fewer chemicals, but they are not completely free of them, for they still contain some which can give irreversible lung damage. But my main fear is that an e-cigar can lead to addiction, first and foremost. Once one’s begins using it, thinking that it’s a “healthier” alternative, they are still smoking and they develop a habit of inhaling chemicals, sometimes smoking even more than the classic ones for they are less restrictive on the smoking allowed areas and eventually the issues are starting to arise.

Going back to my first association of smoking, let’s also discuss the peer pressure. Who feels it the most? Underage population, teenagers to be more exact. They have the susceptibility to try new things under the peer pressure of the environment, especially the current global one where due to general influence they are picking more and more “adult” traits.

With the perception that “e-smoking is not real smoking”, more and more underage population is starting this habit, and the concern goes again to the addiction point and more than that to the switch from e-cigars to classic smoking.

In the end, is it really a better, healthier alternative? My answer to this is definitely no. Smoking is still smoking, no matter what shape or cover you give it. In the end, even if you don’t see the repercussion as fast as you see it at the classic cigars, the health complications will still arise. And in the end, is a flavored vapor really worth risking your health?

About the author

Juchiac Anita –Varvara is a fourth year medical student from Timisoara, Romania, an eager volunteer in SSMT (part of FASMR, IFMSA) and an emergency medicine enthusiast.  One of her strongest beliefs is that, as a medical practitioner, you don’t  have to limit yourself to the borders of your city or country, for the world has the opportunity to teach you at any moment.

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