Are e-cigarettes safe to use?

| 18/03/2019

I know that people who switch from cigarettes to e-cigarettes or just take up “vaping” on its own say that the electronic version is the safer alternative. But I am not convinced. How safe is vaping really?

Ask Auntie, CNS Local Life, Caymanian status

Auntie’s answer: I have wondered the same thing. I also take great issue with the flavours of “smoke” that e-cigarette companies offer, everything from strawberry to custard to key lime pie, which would no doubt attract minors to vaping. And that is not a good thing.

As to whether e-cigarettes are safe to use, I asked Therese Prehay, health promotion officer with the Health Services Authority.  She explained that the so-called Electronic Nicotine Delivery System (ENDS), or vaping, “has not been proven to be a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes”.

She said that research is ongoing on e-cigarette use and how it compares to traditional cigarettes in their use and effects.

“What we do know is that the use of e-cigarettes has increased but the trend has outpaced research on the implications of e-cigarettes over all use of any tobacco product, nicotine addiction and health outcomes,” Ms Prehay said.

Therefore, there is “little consensus” when it comes to their overall risk and safety to tobacco users.

But worth noting is that e-cigarettes contain “nicotine, toxins, such as formaldehyde and acrolein, and others which we don’t yet understand scientifically, that are determined to cause ill effects on health”.

She added that as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “has not found any e-cigarette to be safe and effective in helping smokers quit or a safer alternative to smoking, we warn against its usage in the same way as a conventional tobacco product”.

That makes sense to me. Also, as a tobacco product, it is illegal to sell e-cigarettes to anyone younger than 18 years old under Section 10 of the Tobacco Law, 2008, making the fruity flavours and enticing names even more insidious. However, the FDA is considering changes to its policy on ENDS products to ban flavoured vape liquids which could attract minors.

The law mentioned above can be found on the CNS Library

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