The US administration has announced it will soon ban flavoured e-cigarette products to deter an ever growing number of young users. It comes amid an outbreak of vaping-linked severe pulmonary disease that has killed six people and sickened hundreds Unlike tobacco cigarettes, e-cigarettes don’t “burn.” The devices, available in the United States since 2006, work instead by heating a liquid that turns into vapour and is inhaled. Therefore e-cigarette smokers are not exposed to the estimated 7,000 chemical compounds in regular cigarettes, and there is no known link between vaping and cancer.
The liquids, however contain highly addictive nicotine. There are also a variety other compounds classed as “potentially harmful” according to a 2018 study compiled by the US National Academy of Sciences.And there is “substantial evidence” that the vapour contains traces of metals, either from the coil used to heat the liquid or from other parts of the device. Some flavours also contain diacetyl, a chemical linked to a serious but relatively rare lung disease.
While most of existing scientific literature holds that vaping is less toxic than smoking, “the implications for long-term effects on morbidity and mortality are not yet clear,” and would require decades of more data and studies to know for certain, said the NAS report.But, the bulk of this research was carried out before the current outbreak of severe lung disease in the United States, with more than 450 cases currently under investigation.
The patients’ initial symptoms included breathing difficulty and chest pain before some were hospitalised and placed on ventilators. Several teens were placed in medically-induced comas, including one who may need a lung transplant if he recovers, according to his doctors. New York’s health department is focusing its probe on counterfeit cannabis cartridges containing vitamin E oil, which is harmful when inhaled.The vaping industry is adamant that it doesn’t want underage people using its products, and says that more must be done to prevent their sale. E-cigarettes are already illegal to sell in the US to people under 18 or 21, depending on the State.