If the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa could have its way, the South African government would ban e-cigarettes, along with all forms of smoking

There is a new proposed law to ban electronic smoking devices in South Africa, one the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa (HSFSA) supports, especially as we celebrate ‘World No Tobacco Day’ on 31 May.

The truth about vaping

Vaping has been hailed as being less unhealthy than smoking cigarettes, and helping smokers beat their addiction with the range of supposedly pleasant smells-flavours. However, no one knows the long-term effects of vaping.

A quick Internet search will have you wading through countless studies and research, but for every article which says it’s better, there are many more which say it’s worse. We have a problem in knowing who to trust for information which is legitimate.

It is likely there is truth in both sides, but the truth is that vaping hasn’t been around for long enough, no matter how thorough the study, to know what the long-term effects are. Sadly, vapers are all guinea pigs in one of the world’s biggest scientific experiments.

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“No form of smoking can be dubbed healthy, certainly the HSFSA discourages any form of smoking as part of a healthy lifestyle. If there is one thing for certain, tobacco is proven to be harmful and the ingredients used in vaping devices are known to be poisonous,” says Professor Pamela Naidoo, CEO of the HSFSA.

Here are a few other things we do know:

1. Vaping hooks adolescents

‘Strawberry Watermelon Pop’, ‘Pink Lemonade Risky’, ‘Blue Raz Cotton Candy’ – these aren’t exactly flavours developed for the adult palette, but these are the flavours you’ll find in countless vape ‘juices’.

‘Clouding’ has also found a niche in youth culture. This is the act of exhaling the largest possible cloud of vapour using specially developed and highly customisable e-cigarettes.

Besides the gadget appeal, the teen brain has been shown to be extremely receptive to the addictive effects of nicotine. And those who start earlier have deeper addictions and more difficulty in quitting. Quoting an FDA Commissioner: “Nicotine addiction is a paediatric disease.”

The effects of nicotine are not just limited to brain and behavioural addiction, it’s also damaging to almost all our organs. Even scarier, it has been shown to have an effect on the genes, so teens aren’t just harming themselves, but future generations too.

Could e-cigarettes do as much harm as cigarettes?

2. You’re not exhaling water vapour

Many intelligent people see vaping as benign, as in, you’re just exhaling water vapour, right?

No. When you exhale vape you’re not creating a water vapour cloud, but a chemical one. In fact, it’s not even vapour, it’s an aerosol.

3. The rest of the world is starting to apply controls

Several countries around the world are starting to apply controls on vaping, including America’s FDA.

This includes trying to prevent anyone under the age of 18 from purchasing vape related items.

California is also investigating a motion to restrict ‘childish’ flavours from being sold, and rather allowing more mature flavours, like tobacco flavour.

4. Smoking adoption is increasing for the first time in years

A few years ago, smoking was decreasing globally. However, since the huge adoption of vaping, this trend has reversed, and we may now be facing a whole new generation of nicotine-addicted youth.

Vaping is a brilliantly packaged honeytrap for our youth. And yes, vaping is made to appear relatively safer than smoking cigarettes, but maybe it’s actually much worse than we could ever imagine.

Save your life in a ‘good cloud’ not a vaping cloud

Stop smoking or vaping and rather focus on exercise and sport as a means of relieving stress and having fun.

Eat a balanced diet and get your blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose and body mass index checked to be more informed about the state of your health.

For more information about planned activities for World No Tobacco Day, visit heartfoundation.co.za

Why are we being misled about the safety of e-cigarettes?

Source: Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.