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E-cigarettes not a safer option, could hurt health: HPA(英文台北時報)

2017-08-24

It is unclear whether electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) can help people quit smoking tobacco, the Health Promotion Administration (HPA) said yesterday, adding that nearly 80 percent of e-cigarette liquid inspected last year contained nicotine.

Citing a WHO report, the agency said there is not enough evidence to show the use of e-cigarettes can help people stop smoking.

E-cigarette liquids containing nicotine can cause addiction and several e-cigarette explosions have even raised safety concerns, it said, adding that some carcinogenic substances in the liquids lead to higher risk of cardiovascular disease than smoking tobacco.

While many e-cigarette liquid manufacturers claim their products to be nicotine-free, the administration said tests conducted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on 3,062 samples showed that nearly 80 percent of liquids contained nicotine.

HPA Health Education and Tobacco Control Division head Lo Su-ying (羅素英) said a research paper published last year by the Harvard School of Public Health suggested 76 percent common e-cigarette liquids sold in the US contained substances that can cause bronchiolitis obliterans or liver-related diseases.

A 2014 survey conducted in South Korea on nearly 35,904 high-school students also showed that the prevalence of asthma and student absences increased when e-cigarettes use increased and that various fragrance ingredients in the liquids can damage the respiratory tract, even causing lung inflammation, she said.

A paper delivered at this year’s American Heart Association’s International Stroke Conference suggested that the risk of stoke and brain hemorrhage from smoking e-cigarettes is higher than from smoking tobacco, while another paper this year suggested that smoking e-cigarettes can cause the same level of heart damage as smoking tobacco, the agency said.

The agency’s survey discovered that adolescents who smoke e-cigarettes mostly started out of curiosity or learned it from peers or parents, but 44.1 percent of junior-high school students and 29.4 percent of senior-high school or vocational school students who smoke e-cigarettes do not smoke tobacco, showing that e-cigarettes could even prompt adolescents to start smoking.

The administration urged adolescents to reject e-cigarettes and advised parents to pay attention to what their children were spending their allowances on.