Friday, 9 December 2016

E-Cigarettes Are Unsafe And Can Cause Serious Health Concern For Young People

electronic cigarettes

E-cigarettes are leaving young people at risk of nicotine addiction, brain development problems and mood disorders, the US surgeon general has warned in a wide-ranging report published today.

America's most senior doctor Vivek Murthy said e-cigarette use among young people and young adults is ‘not safe’ and ‘now a major public health concern’

The stark warning is at odds with advice from Public Health England (PHE) which has claimed e-cigarettes should be used as a quitting aid.

But Dr Murthy warned that nicotine exposure is harmful to the developing brain and said that teachers, parents and health officials should discourage under 25s from taking up the habit.

“Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which can cause addiction and can harm the developing adolescent brain,” said Dr Murthy.

“Compared with older adults, the brain of youth and young adults is more vulnerable to the negative consequences of nicotine exposure.

“The effects include addiction, priming for use of other addictive substances, reduced impulse control, deficits in attention and cognition, and mood disorders.

“Although e-cigarettes generally emit fewer toxicants than combustible tobacco products, we know that aerosol from e-cigarettes is not harmless.

“Health care providers, parents, teachers, and other caregivers should advise youth about the dangers of nicotine and discourage tobacco use in any form, including e-cigarettes.”

Dr Murthy said the negative health effects and potentially harmful doses of heated chemicals in e-cigarette liquids are not completely understood.

But he warned they could become a gateway to smoking normal cigarettes, saying vaping "is strongly associated with the use of other tobacco products among youth and young adults, particularly the use of combustible tobacco products".

His strongly-worded report said that serious action was needed to keep the products out of the hands of the nation's young people.

The report is at odds with a PHE study last year which encouraged smokers to switch to e-cigarettes, claiming they are 95 per cent less harmful.

However the PHE report came in for much criticism from some scientists writing in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) and The Lancet.

They said it was based on poor quality evidence and pointed to links between some experts involved in the study, the tobacco industry and firms that manufacture e-cigarettes.

Britain’s only lung cancer charity, the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, said they shared the same concerns as Dr Murthy.

Paula Chadwick, Chief Executive of Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, said: “We understand that some people chose to use them as a bridge on the way to quitting smoking entirely, and that makes sense. But, in truth, the only safe substance to inhale into your lungs is pure, clean air.

”So we welcome the contribution made by the Surgeon General to the world-wide debate about the use of e-cigarettes”.

However PHE defended its stance, saying regulations were tougher in the UK to prevent youngsters using e-cigarettes.

Professor Kevin Fenton, national director of health and wellbeing at Public Health England said:

“We recognise the concern about youth uptake of e-cigarettes in the US where establishing regulations, especially on marketing has been difficult. The position in the UK is very different. We have comprehensive regulations in place including a ban on selling e-cigarettes to under-18s and tough restrictions on advertising, as well as minimum standards for safety, maximum nicotine levels and health warnings on packs.

“Our review of the evidence found e-cigarette use carries a fraction of the risk of smoking, a conclusion reiterated by the Royal College of Physicians earlier this year. No new evidence has been published to contradict this, however we are closely monitoring any emerging evidence .”

Some 59 per cent vapers also smoke regular cigarettes alongside, while 53 per cent said they used vaping as an aid to quitting regular smoking.



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