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Specialist societies warn against the use of e-cigarettes
E-cigarettes are considered a healthier alternative to smoking and are often advertised as such. The extent to which these are suitable for smoking cessation remains controversial, especially since the vaporizers themselves pose considerable health risks. In a current communication, the German Society for Pneumology and Respiratory Medicine e.V. (DGP) therefore expressly warns against the use of e-cigarettes.
"E-cigarettes are not a suitable aid for people who want to quit smoking altogether," the DGP said. There is only a shift in addiction and long-term benefits of e-cigarettes in weaning cannot be demonstrated. The DGP also emphasizes that electrical replacement products pose health risks, the extent of which cannot yet be fully estimated. We therefore expressly warn against using it.
Risks are often underestimated
The electronic vaporizers were wrongly called to be significantly less harmful to health than conventional tobacco cigarettes. The risks are often underestimated. In a recent review, however, the acute potentially harmful effects, particularly on the lungs and respiratory tract, have been clearly demonstrated, reports the DGP. Depending on the type of e-cigarette and the composition of the liquid used, there may well be health risks. In addition, some harmful substances, "including respiratory tract irritants such as propylene glycol, carcinogenic substances such as formaldehyde and sometimes harmful metals such as lead and chromium and nicotine would be inhaled."
Long-term consequences of using e-cigarettes unclear
In addition, the aroma substances used pose a variety of health risks, warns the DGP. “The knowledge gained so far shows that these devices pose a considerable health hazard. It is therefore negligent and irresponsible for the cigarette industry to sell e-cigarettes as a harmless, modern alternative, "says Professor Dr. med. Michael Pfeifer, President of the DGP. The long-term consequences of using e-cigarettes are not yet fully assessable at this point.
Entry into tobacco addiction?
The DGP has warned against the use of e-cigarettes not only since the deaths in the USA, which are attributed to acute lung failure as a result of the use of e-cigarettes. Especially in adolescents, the e-cigarette could also be the entry point to later tobacco consumption. Several studies have shown that schoolchildren who “use e-cigarettes are more likely to use conventional cigarettes”; reports the DGP. According to Professor Pfeifer, the industry focuses on the lifestyle factor when it comes to advertising and thus appeals primarily to young people for whom e-cigarettes represent a low-threshold entry-level offer for nicotine addiction.
Unsuitable as a weaning aid
In a recent statement, the European Respiratory Society (ERS) warns against downplaying the dangers of e-cigarettes. The ERS expressly points out that the repeated assertion that e-cigarettes have a positive benefit in smoking cessation has not been substantiated. "Anyone who recommends e-cigarettes for smoking cessation misjudges the study situation. E-cigarettes are also harmful to health and are therefore completely unsuitable as a weaning aid, ”emphasizes Professor Dr. Tobias Welte, past president of ERS. Short-term positive weaning effects found in a meta-analysis of the effectiveness of e-cigarettes would not have been confirmed in the long term under real-life conditions.
Advertising ban on e-cigarettes demanded
In view of the health risks and a possible means of entry into tobacco addiction, the DGP and the ERS are calling for a complete ban on advertising for e-cigarettes as well. (fp)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Dipl. Geogr. Fabian Peters
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