Electronic cigarettes increase the risk of nicotine addiction and consumption of conventional tobacco products, according to the Spanish Society of Pneumology and Thoracic Surgery (SEPAR).
“Consuming electronic cigarettes means the smoker will spend less than when buying the conventional cigarettes. This, together with the strong growth and promotion of these products, is resulting in a significant increase in consumption among adolescents who had never smoked,” said pulmonologist Neus Altet, a member of SEPAR.
“This indicates that without a suitable regularization, electronic cigarettes could be a gateway to nicotine addiction and the subsequent use of conventional cigarettes,” added the specialist.
According to SEPAR, in Spain the age at which young people start smoking is about 13.5 years: at age 13 youngsters try the first cigarette and at 14 they are already smoking daily.
He adds that at between 18 and 20 years is where it is more common to find the largest number of smokers, more than a third of the total.
“Because kids begin smoking so early, they stand a greater chance of developing some type of chronic respiratory disease, cancer or cardiovascular complication.”
This chance increases even more as they become adults” warned the pulmonologist, who is in favor of banning the sale of electronic cigarettes to children under 18 years.
“This ban would only aim to protect children and adolescents from harm resulting from initiation to smoking,” said Altet.
According to the doctor, electronic cigarettes contain substances that not only produce short-term respiratory disorders, but their use is relatively recent and the long-term effects are unknown.
“The manufacturers do not report reliably their contents. It is not known with certainty what exactly is in these product and what is its effect when inhaling its content.
It has not been shown that their use is safe, especially in the long-term, nor do we know the details of the potential effects on non-users who are also exposed to the vapors,” insisted Altet.
Nicotine is an addictive substance that can be toxic by direct contact with the skin and that is fatal if a dose of only 6 milligrams is ingested.
According to SEPAR, these products can produce toxic effects if their use is not performed according to the instructions provided on the packaging.
“Another worrying factor is that if parents neglect a child and they get a cartridge, if the child comes in contact with the liquid contained in the electronic cigarette, there is a high risk of death,” said Altet.
“These are some of the reasons why we need adequate legislation regulating the manufacture and safety mechanisms of these products,” he concluded.
Luis R. Miranda is the Founder and Editor of The Real Agenda. His 16 years of experience in Journalism include television, radio, print and Internet news. Luis obtained his Journalism degree from Universidad Latina de Costa Rica, where he graduated in Mass Media Communication in 1998. He also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Broadcasting from Montclair State University in New Jersey. Among his most distinguished interviews are: Costa Rican President Jose Maria Figueres and James Hansen from NASA Space Goddard Institute. Read more about Luis.