Health matters: E-cigarettes not a healthier choice, say doctors

2 in 10 addicts get back to the habit of smoking.

Hyderabad: Many youths are taking to e-cigarettes in an effort to beat the harmful effects of smoking cigarettes or to kick the habit, but doctors are not so sure it works.

E-cigarettes run on batteries and use liquid nicotine. They do away with tobacco, tar and smoke.

“I personally would not promote it as it contains nicotine which is carcinogenic,” said Dr Vijay Kumar Chennamchetty, a senior pulmonologist.

Psychologists say vaping, as smoking e-cigarettes is called, is not really serving the purpose as two in 10 addicts may get back to smoking regular cigarettes.

“Many people are dually addicted to alcohol and smoking. They may be able to quit alcohol but not cigarettes as their bodily processes get hooked on cigarettes,” said Dr O. Arvind, a psychologist.

The e-cigarette market in India is managed mainly by a handful of companies, mostly start ups, who import the devices from abroad. ITC is the only major company that manufacturers e-cigarettes.

The e-cigarettes are targeted at the more affluent sections as each instrument costs between Rs 1,000 and Rs 5,000.

Those who ‘vape’ take to it as it is pitched as an alternative to smoking, and not as a device to kick the nicotine habit, a psychologist said.

This is what has made it highly successful in the west, where nicotine chewing gums and patches are not preferred to help kick the habit.

“The best way to de-addict yourself is to use the nicotine replacement therapy with chewing gums for 2-3 months. Using an e-cigarette will not reduce the psychological craving for smoking,” said Dr Prassana Kumar Reddy, a senior pulmonologist. He said vaping hits the lungs, while chewing gums are absorbed by the mucosa in the mouth and reduces their impact.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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