The Risks and Dangers of Electronic Cigarettes

The Risks and Dangers of Electronic Cigarettes
Electronic cigarettes are not a safe alternative to traditional smoking and may cause serious lung diseases.

For a long time, using e-cigarettes has been considered a reasonable option, as they are seen as a substitute for traditional cigarettes and a preferred choice for those who wish to quit smoking. Currently, e-cigarettes are facing scrutiny from the scientific community, and experts even suggest that they may be more harmful than traditional cigarettes.

According to a survey conducted by Covitel, a phone survey on risk factors for chronic non-communicable diseases during the pandemic, a significant portion of Brazilian youths use e-cigarettes. 19.7% of individuals aged 18 to 24 are followers of this device, which can be seen as one of the entry points for tobacco consumption.

Are electronic cigarettes riskier than regular cigarettes?

The Brazilian Society of Pathology (SBP) pathologist Alexandre Todorovic Fabro stated in a declaration that electronic cigarettes result in similar diseases as traditional cigarettes, as well as more severe conditions such as lung cell destruction due to combustion caused by the combination of hot steam and toxic substances.

Dr. Fabro compared the damage to lung tissue caused by electronic cigarettes to the toxic smoke inhalation experienced during fires, in order to provide evidence for the harm caused by e-cigarettes. He explained that in cases of this type of damage, "if the person does not die, they will develop pneumonia and leave marks on the lungs, much like internal scars.

In fact, there is a specific name for illnesses caused by the use of e-cigarettes: EVALI. In English, the full name for this term is e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury/illness, a term that has been in use since October 2019.

Other Complications Caused by Smoking

Aside from the unique diseases that electronic cigarettes may cause, they may also lead to the same issues as traditional cigarettes, such as lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – previously known as emphysema. Concerning COPD, Paulo Antônio Morais Faleiros, a pulmonologist from SBP, explains that this is a preventable disease.

These two illnesses are most commonly seen among electronic cigarette users, but research linking this habit to an increased risk of over 10 types of cancer, including bladder cancer, has been conducted on cigarette smokers.

Electronic cigarettes can serve as a gateway to vaporizing.

Individuals who have been smoking for years do not prefer cigarettes with tutti-frutti scents or ones that taste like lemon pie. They prefer the taste and odor of tar. However, for those who have never smoked, these new flavors and aromas are clearly eye-catching," argued pulmonologist Dr. Faleiros.

At this point, it is difficult to observe that the device is actually a substitute for smoking cessation. On the other hand, research shows that electronic cigarettes are popular among young age groups, such as those aged 18 to 24.

Is the e-cigarette being released in Brazil?

It is important to note that Brazil has banned the use of electronic cigarettes. According to the Brazilian Medical Association (AMB) and the Federal Medical Council (CFM), legislation pertaining to electronic cigarettes should remain the same due to potential risks faced by users.

In July of this year, Brazil's National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) declared that the ban on importing, advertising and selling electronic cigarettes and vaping devices would remain in effect following the release of a report on the subject. Despite these measures being taken, illegal sales of e-cigarettes and vaping devices continue to occur throughout the country.

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