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We don't know long-term effects of vaping, says expert

Published Sep 28, 2019


Over the years, the use of electronic cigarettes has been on a high, and it’s becoming a trend.

It has been used as an alternative to regular smoking by many people because it has been considered safer than smoking tobacco. 

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However, the use of these e-cigarettes have caused a huge debate after health officials have linked the products to deadly lung illnesses, tests show.

But according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in the US (CDC), vaping has come under fire based on 380 confirmed and probable cases of a mysterious respiratory condition reported as of September 11, 2019. 

Overall, e-cigarettes are battery-powered devices designed to look like a pen, a thumb drive, or even a real cigarette. Some have refillable tanks while others have disposable pods. But regardless of what they look like, they basically all work the same way.

E-cigarettes have containers filled with liquid that usually contains nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals. A battery-powered heating device turns the liquid into vapor, which users inhale when they take a puff off of the device.

There have been six deaths confirmed by the CDC in the US linked to vaping. Whether there is a direct cause or whether it is the actual content that caused the deaths is still under investigation; some preliminary investigations indicated that THC (tetra hydrocannibol) was found in the e-liquid.

Between 2010 and 2019, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US received 35 reports of seizures linked to e-cigarette use. 

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According to Professor Pamela Naidoo, CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa (HSFSA), we simply don’t know the long-term effects of vaping.

This is evident in the many different views on vaping: It’s banned outright in some countries; but accepted, and even promoted as an effective and "safe enough" method to quit smoking, by other national health systems.

The reason for these divergent views is that at this time, vaping is a gamble. Studies haven’t been able to run long enough to be conclusive. The long-term consequences are unknown and unknowable. Vaping may turn out to be healthier than smoking, but it could turn out to be worse.

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