Posted on Jun 05, 2018, 4 p.m.
Global respiratory scientists and doctors from 6 continents warn of the dangers posed to adolescents by electronic cigarettes, calling for a ban on flavorings and misleading marketing of e-cigarettes as low risk alternatives, as published in the European Respiratory Journal.
There is a growing body of evidence mounting that e-cigarettes damage health and are highly addictive, yet they are still marketed by manufacturers as healthier cigarettes and they are experiencing growing popularity among the younger populations. As a result the groups is calling for an immediate ban on flavourings and on misleading marketing as a lower risk alternative to adolescents.
The group has published a globally collaborative paper bringing together a wide range of global findings highlighting evidence of adolescents and children being highly susceptible to nicotine addiction, and the use of e-cigarettes is rising steeply in this age group, becoming the most common used tobacco product among adolescents in most countries. The paper also lays out sets of evidence based recommendations for protecting youths from the harmful effects of nicotine addiction.
The risks of e-cigarettes and rising youth popularity has been under recognised and in some cases ignored for profit. The paper was published in collaboration to bring much need attention to address the growing public health concern of youth e-cigarette use.
E-cigarette product design, marketing, flavours, and perception of safety combined with readiness and ease of access and acceptability have added to the appeal of e-cigs to youths, as the products are advertised in a manner to normalise smoking that leads to new generations addicted to nicotine, which there is growing evidence showing that e-cigs act as a gateway to regular cigarette smoking, especially in youths. Exposure to harmful ingredients for e-cigs may be lower than traditional cigarettes, but that far from means they are harmless.
The globally collaborative paper calls for a ban on flavoured products with evidence showing flavouring draws youths to the products. Recent studies show flavoring added to e-cigs which are food safe alter regarding e-cig use and become harmful. Currently there are upwards of 7,500 different flavoured e-cigs and refills available. The paper also recommends further research be conducted on the effects of flavoured e-cigs as there is growing evidence of harmful effects, and surveillance of use across different countries.
E-cig regulations very greatly worldwide, legislation on a minimum age for purchasing e-cigs is not enforced or non-existing in most countries. In low and middle income countries e-cigs are largely unregulated. E-cigs are marketed as smoking cessation tools and as a safer alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes, growing evidence shows this is not true and evidence shows that nicotine has many long term adverse effects including addiction.
This paper was made because in global collaboration according to the group because it’s time to recognize e-cigarettes are a growing health concern. Inhaling something other than air into the lungs such as nicotine is never a good or safe thing, especially in youths and children, and there is a growing body of evidence to support it.
Materials provided by European Lung Foundation.
Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
Thomas W. Ferkol, Harold J. Farber, Stefania La Grutta, Frank T. Leone, Henry M. Marshall, Enid Neptune, Charlotta Pisinger, Aneesa Vanker, Myra Wisotzky, Gustavo E. Zabert, Dean E. Schraufnagel. Electronic cigarette use in youths: a position statement of the Forum of International Respiratory Societies. European Respiratory Journal, 2018; 51 (5): 1800278 DOI: 10.1183/13993003.00278-2018