India’s smoking problem is not new. From hookahs and bidis to chewing tobacco leaves, Indians have and continue to consume tobacco in various shapes and forms.
Tobacco consumption, however, kills more than 6 million people globally every year. The World Health Organisation has even gone on to predict that the number of premature deaths due to Tobacco use could rise to 1 billion by the end of the 21st century, making it imperative that smokers find ways to quit this dangerous habit.
Smoking affects almost every major organ and system in your body posing a wide range of health conditions and untimely death.
Approximately 45% of all cancers among males and 17% among females in India are directly linked to the use of tobacco smoking or chewing.
The consumption of tobacco has been linked to 80% of oral cancers Know more about the harmful effects of smoking here.
Cigarette smoke contains more than 4000 toxic chemicals, of which 69 are known to be cancer-causing. The main reason for smoking being so addictive is Nicotine - a chemical that can reach your brain within 6 seconds of smoking the first puff of your cigarette.
Quitting smoking gives your body time to heal from the damage caused by these harmful chemicals and components.
Popularly known as e-cigarettes, they are a range of products classified as nicotine-delivery devices that aerosolize nicotine and flavoured chemicals through heating. A growing number of Indians now use e-cigarettes, also known as“vapes” to cut down on their smoking habits.
But, is vaping to quit smoking a real healthy alternative?
A National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report found that while e-cigarettes are less harmful than conventional cigarettes, which produce a range of toxic chemicals when burned, they still pose a range of serious health risks. Learn more about how an e-cigarette works here.
While E-cigarettes are often believed to be a healthier alternative to cigarettes, preliminary research and newly registered cases in the US have begun to find an increased prevalence of lung problems associated with heavy users of e-cigarettes. India’s government has even gone as far as to propose a blanket ban on the sale of e-cigarettes due to the potential medical complications of vaping e-cigarettes.
The US has reported at least 100 new cases related to lung damage, blood health, and a range of other conditions that they are attributing to vaping.
Although vaping is considered much safer than cigarette-smoking, it may not be an entirely safe alternative. Studies are still underway to understand what effects aerosolized chemicals have on lung health. Some studies suggest the flavouring pods used in e-cigarettes can have adverse impacts on lung health over a period of time.
Recent medical cases, as well as the Government’s growing concern about the sale and use of e-cigarettes, suggest that vaping e-cigarettes may not be as benign an activity after all. If you experience any symptoms of lung inflammation, especially if you have been vaping, consult your doctor at the earliest.