The United States announced Wednesday that it would ban the sale of flavored electronic cigarettes to reduce their attractiveness for young people. Here is the knowledge of the dangers of vaping.
- What do electronic cigarettes contain?
Vaping is the process of inhaling vapors created by high temperature heating of a liquid inside the electronic cigarette.
Liquids usually contain nicotine. Nicotine has been well studied for decades: it is addictive and can affect brain development. Some users also find cannabis liquids.
They do not include many dangerous substances such as tar (carcinogenic) or carbon monoxide (cardiovascular disease factor).
But the vapor contains fine particles that penetrate the lungs. There are "many potentially toxic substances," concluded a report by the American Academies of Science in 2018.
It includes metals (nickel, lead ...), probably from the coil used to heat the liquid.
And a large number of additives are added, which can be classified safe in their liquid or solid form, but whose effect is poorly studied when they are vaporized and enter the lungs.
It is possible that these substances have long-term toxic effects on the cells of the body. To be sure, it would require studies over several decades, which do not exist yet, e-cigarettes being sold since the mid-2000s only.
As for taste, e-liquids exist flavored with tobacco, but also with dozens of different flavors, according to the brands: menthol, red fruit, vanilla, mango ... even fanciful tastes like candy or crème brûlée.
Is Vapoter safer than smoking?
Anti-smoking experts argue that e-cigarettes are less harmful than cigarettes, since nicotine remains, but not substances that are known to be carcinogenic.
A study conducted in the UK and published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that e-cigarettes were more effective than patches, gums and other substitutes for quitting.
But there is still not enough evidence that vaping is an indisputable help at weaning, warned the World Health Organization in a very harsh report in July 2019.
In any case, "electronic nicotine delivery systems", according to their technical name, "are undeniably harmful and will therefore have to be regulated," says WHO.
In the short term, in the United States, in the summer of 2019, a mysterious epidemic of acute lung diseases has also caused several deaths and sent hundreds of people to the emergency room.
Most had purchased THC fluids, the psychoactive substance of cannabis, but it was not known which of the many additives could have damaged the lungs.
Vitamin E oil has been cited as a possible cause by New York State, but federal health authorities have not confirmed that this molecule was the culprit.
- Should we frame or prohibit?
The other problem is for young people who did not smoke at first, and start vaping. In addition to nicotine addiction, studies have shown that they are more likely to start smoking tobacco.
In the United States, authorities speak of epidemic in high schools, with a dominance of fruity aromas, mint and menthol. The forthcoming ban on flavored e-cigarettes across the country is aimed at protecting this youth.
The US government wants to allow only tastes tobacco, for those who would like to quit smoking, while reserving the option to go further.
Anti-smoking experts warn that a total ban on e-cigarettes would hurt smokers who want to quit, and could benefit from a replacement by vaping.
They are alarmed to see that the cities of San Francisco and Richmond have voted out total bans on the sale of any e-cigarette that has not been approved by the Federal Drug Agency (FDA). that is, all at this stage. These bans will come into effect next year.
© 2019 AFP