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E-Cigarettes - no healthy alternative to smoking

For some time, the electric cigarette (e-cigarette) in Ireland has received increasing attention and spread. E-cigarettes consist of a mouthpiece, a rechargeable battery, an electric nebuliser and a replacement cartridge, in which is a liquid ("e juice"). The liquid is atomized and inhaled while pulling on the mouthpiece. In many models, a diode (LED) is lit at the front end that imitates the smoldering of a tobacco cigarette. The consumption of e-cigarettes is referred to as "vapor". The liquids of the e-cigarettes contain as main components propylene glycol, water, glycerin, ethanol, nicotine and frequently different aromas. Liquids without nicotine are also available.

Some liquids tested in the laboratory contained small amounts of toxic substances such as tobacco-specific nitrosamines and diethylene glycol (DEG) [1]. In exceptional cases, even prescription drugs were found (active ingredients for the treatment of overweight / impotence). E-cigarettes do not contain tobacco. The long-term health effects of the consumption of the e-cigarette are still unknown. Short-term adverse effects on the respiratory system have already been demonstrated after a few strokes on the e-cigarette : Pronounced airway constrictions Decrease of the nitric oxide in the exhaled air, which indicates inflammatory processes in the bronchi Irritations in the throat and mouth dry cough The long-term effect of inhaled propylene glycol is still unknown. Since respiratory stimuli are already triggered in the short term, it can be assumed that the persistent consumption can also cause damage to the respiratory tract. It is also unclear whether propylene glycol has a detrimental effect on reproduction. The nicotine contained in most liquids is an addictive substance, which can become very addictive and lead to cardiovascular diseases in long-term use.

Another danger is the high nicotine content in the refill bottles. This is a multiple of the lethal dose when swallowed for children and adults. Moreover, it is unclear in which composition the steam produced by e-cigarettes is exhaled by the users and pollutes the internal air. Health risks associated with passive inhalation can not be ruled out. Since April 2016, e-cigarettes and liquids have also been subject to a uniform regulation in the European Union in Ireland. The directives lay down uniform quality and safety requirements for nicotine-containing e-cigarettes; products without nicotine are not affected by the provisions. For example, the concentration of nicotine in the liquid must not exceed 20 mg nicotine per ml.

Consumers must also be informed of the exact contents of the liquid by means of instructions on the packaging. E-cigarettes and also refill containers may only be sold with instruction leaflets. With regard to advertising restrictions, e-cigarettes have been treated as tobacco products. Further regulations are to be found in the "Act implementing the Directive on tobacco products and related products". The safety and health of the e-cigarette is not proven. Therefore the use can not be recommended. Healthy is only the renouncement of any form of the cigarette. E-cigarettes can exert a high attractiveness on children and adolescents through sweet aromas and thus represent an entry gate for tobacco smoking and a nicotine dependency.

A variant of the e-cigarette is the so-called e-shisha, about which we inform here. Since 1 April 2016, the ban on the sale and consumption of tobacco products to young people also applies to e-cigarettes and e-shishas. The law also includes e-inhalation products that do not contain nicotine. Is the e-cigarette suitable for smoking? The data on the safety and effectiveness of the electric cigarette in tobacco cessation is insufficient. The e cigarette is therefore not recommended as a means of smoking. When using a nicotine-containing e-cigarette instead of tobacco cigarettes, there is a risk that the physical dependency is maintained. Moreover, smoking habits and habits are usually maintained. Successful tobacco cessation, however, requires a change in behavior and overcoming psychological dependency.