APROPOS the editorial ‘Vaping death’ (Oct 7). The tobacco industry has a long history of bringing products in the market to ensure that their business of nicotine addiction continues.
Initially e- cigarettes were marketed as an aid to smoking cessation but now the tobacco industry is actively promoting this as a safe alternative to smoking, attempting to mask the harrowing reality of vaping.
E-cigarette use, or vaping, among teens has skyrocketed in recent years in the developed world and seems to be slowly rising in Pakistan as well. Unlike conventional cigarettes there is no smoke with vaping, and people tend to inhale large quantities of nicotine and other chemicals without realising it. In fact the incidence of nicotine poisoning has increased manifold after the arrival of e-cigarette in the market.
Nicotine is highly addictive and can harm adolescent brain development. Also young people are more vulnerable to the adverse effects of vaping because their lungs are still not fully developed.
In addition, the gateway theory postulates that using nicotine in adolescence may also increase the risk for future addiction to other drugs. Some research does indicate that e-cig can help in quitting smoking when other methods have failed.
Our current anti-smoking laws do not cover e-cigarettes.
There is a need to educate the public not only on the deleterious effects of vaping. The concerned authorities must regulate these products to ensure that they are not sold to people who are under 18. Moreover, the ban on smoking at public places and transport must include e-cigarettes as well. Itis high time we become cognizant of the appalling reality of vaping.
Dr Javaid Khan
Published in Dawn, October 14th, 2019