There’s no dispute that smoking is addictive, and it causes endless health issues which eventually could lead to death. But when it comes to vaping, there is no consensus.
Since 1993, Singapore has banned sales of imitation tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. But, in February 2018, Singapore also made it illegal to buy, use or possess these.
Vapes, or commonly known as e-cigarettes, are electronic devices that has the capability to heat up a vapour solution (e-liquid) and bring it into the lungs, exactly like a regular cigarette. But the best part of this is that they all come in fancy looks like pens, flash drives or high-end tech gadget.
In general, e-liquids have far less chemicals than tobacco, however the long-term effects of these chemicals are still unknown.
According to an article written by NUS Saw Swee Hock Public Health’s Dr Yvette van der Eijk and Dr Jeong Kyu Lee, studies have also been contradicting itself where some claims vaping is harmless and it helps people quit smoking, while others say it’s as dangerous as smoking and it is a gateway for youth to start smoking.
Although it’s difficult to determine the damages of e-cigarettes, but based on the body of research, it safe to assume that e-cigarettes that have nicotine are addictive, just like regular cigarettes. Besides that, vaping is can be considered unsafe, but safer than smoking. But to say something is “safer than smoking” does not say much, since the chances of dying from a smoking-related disease are more than one in two.
Due to the addictiveness and unknown health risk of e-cigarettes, a sensible policy should, at the minimum, prevent youth from using them.
This is because tobacco companies, which own most of the e-cigarette market, have a solid history of targeting youths. In recent years, they have been turning their attention to social media.
Based on a latest investigation by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, it is revealed that tobacco companies pay influencers to promote cigarettes, with specific instructions on which brands to promote, when to post the content for maximum exposure, as well as how to avoid making the photos look staged.
Although debates on e-cigarettes often looks solely on the potential harms or benefits of vaping as compared to smoking, but Dr van der Eijk and Dr Jeong feel that what everyone should be more worried about the industry preying on youth.
However, on social media, netizens dismissed the claim that vaping may be as dangerous as smoking. They penned their comments on Channel NewsAsia’s Facebook page where over 50 comments were received.
Some even sarcastically said that the two scholars from NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health have concerns about e-cigarettes solely because the Government can’t impose tax on them.