LAHORE: Electronic cigarettes, a battery-operated device developed as an alternative to normal cigarettes, is also causing cardiovascular and respiratory diseases among the people.
At least 100,000 people die annually due to tobacco use and use of ‘Shisha’. “Electronic cigarette, which is popular among the youth, is an emerging health risk,” Head of Pulmonology Department at Sheikh Zayed Hospital Dr Talha Mahmood said on Wednesday.
He added many harmful chemicals, including nicotine were being used in the composition of this harmful e-cigarette which was toxic to humans and could cause health issues.
He said nicotine, flavourings and many other harmful chemicals are used in electronic cigarette that maybe carcinogenic.
He maintained electronic cigarette cartridges contain nicotine which could cause heart ailments. “In adults, smoke causes serious cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, including coronary heart disease and lung cancer. However, in infants it causes sudden death,” Dr Talha pointed out.
He said in pregnant women it causes low birth weight. He said the newly introduced e-cigarette is like other cigarettes but its level of harm has not been evaluated. “However, its ability to help smokers to quit smoking is zero,” he said.
At least 8,000 e-liquid unique flavours have been introduced so far. The health effects of heated and inhaled flavours used in the e-liquids have not been well studied but it is very likely that e-cigarettes are less toxic than cigarette smoke. However, these are unlikely to be harmless and long-term use is expected to increase the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, and possibly cardiovascular disease, a World Health Organisation report stated.
According to the details given by the Tobacco Control Cell, five million people died in the world as a direct result of tobacco and in 2025, 10 million people are expected to die from this addiction. About 24 million Pakistanis, 36% adult males and 9% adult females are smokers while the trend to use e-cigarette is increasing rapidly in new generation, especially in students.
In 20th Century, tobacco epidemic killed 100 million people worldwide.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 12th, 2017.