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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 February 2019

Doctors warn against e-cigarettes

Medical experts say effect of glycol on lungs is unknown.
Electronic cigarettes – e-cigarettes – for sale in Dubai, despite being  banned by the Government. Antonie Robertson / The National
Electronic cigarettes – e-cigarettes – for sale in Dubai, despite being banned by the Government. Antonie Robertson / The National

ABU DHABI // Doctors have backed a ban on e-cigarettes, saying it was still not proven that the devices were a safe alternative to smoking tobacco.

But some former smokers say e-cigarettes, which deliver nicotine into the lungs through a battery-powered vaporiser, have been useful in helping them to quit the tobacco habit.

E-cigarettes are banned by the Ministry of Health because scientific evidence has not conclusively shown they are a safe alternative to smoking.

Despite this, they remain on sale in parts of the emirates.

The use of e-cigarettes is one of the topics under discussion at the 16th World Conference on Tobacco or Health, taking place at Adnec this week.

Dr Abdul Razzak Al Kaddour, a consultant physician in cardiology at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, urged caution in using e-cigarettes. He said: “They are a nicotine-delivery system. It has nicotine, so that’s the number one reason why they are so addictive.”

He said the e-cigarettes deliver the nicotine into the lungs by a mix of e-liquids, made up of glycerol and glycol. “We don’t know what harm glycol is doing to the lungs in the long term,” he said. “So my feeling is ‘snake is a snake’. I think it’s a poison. A poison in the meaning that it’s nicotine.”

He also said he had heard of cases of young people becoming addicted to nicotine through e-cigarettes.

He said there were safer ways of quitting tobacco, such as nicotine-replacement gum and patches.

“We reduce the dose over time. But with e-cigarettes we don’t know the dosage, so we don’t know the concentration and we don’t know what the vaporiser system is doing to the lungs.”

Nadine Ahmad 28, a New Zealander who lives in Abu Dhabi, said she had managed to quit tobacco through e-cigarettes.

She had smoked for nine years, before quitting for a couple of years. But when she moved to the UAE she began again.

Then, during a stay in Canada, she quit by using e-cigarettes.

“I completely stopped smoking once I converted to e-cigarettes. It was, for me, the perfect method to quit. After I bought the e-cigarettes I couldn’t stand the taste or smell of cigarette smoke. I haven’t touched a real cigarette in over a year and eight months,” she said. “Now I can never imagine myself smoking ever again.”

She admitted, however, that she still uses e-cigarettes.

malshamsi@thenational.ae

Updated: March 17, 2015 04:00 AM

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