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E-cigarettes not advisable for smokers – DOH

MANILA, Philippines - Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), increasingly popular among young Filipinos, are not advisable for those who want to quit smoking, the Department of Health (DOH) warned last week.

Anthony Leachon, DOH consultant for non-communicable diseases, e-cigarettes could not help a person who wants to stop smoking.

“Electronic cigarettes are not advisable since you don’t kick the habit. You can easily go back to smoking,” said Leachon.

He said if a person wants to quit but can’t do it on his own, he should consult a doctor for proper counseling and medication.

Maricar Limpin, executive director of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Alliance Philippines, has expressed concern over the proliferation of e-cigarettes.

Limpin warned that e-cigarettes give a false sense of security because these are being marketed as something that would help one quit smoking “when, in fact, there is no evidence to prove that.”

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First developed in Beijing, the e-cigarette is an electronic device that looks like the real thing. By producing an inhaled mist, it supposedly simulates the act of tobacco smoking.

But Limpin said the e-cigarette is also addictive because the liquid used to produce vapor contains nicotine.

“E-cigarettes are being flavored to cover the (taste of nicotine). So you would think that there’s no nicotine in it until you develop addiction,” she said.     

Nicotine is only one of the 70 toxic chemicals, 70 of them carcinogenic, found in cigarettes. These include butane, used in lighters; cadmium, used in batteries; stearic acid (candle wax); toluene (industrial solvent); ammonia (toilet cleaner); paint; methanol (rocket fuel); carbon monoxide; arsenic (poison); methane (sewer gas); acetic acid (vinegar) and hexamine (barbeque lighter).

Like cocaine and heroine, nicotine is addictive because it disturbs the balance of chemicals in a person’s brain.

During smoking, nicotine stimulates the blood pressure and oxygen level in the body, causing the release of dopamine in the brain.

Dopamine is a chemical that gives pleasurable feelings and since it is triggered by nicotine, it relies on this toxic substance to achieve the desired sensation, resulting in addiction.



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