Don't make a case for vaping

Increasing amounts of literature defending vaping are being published now, even as e-cigarettes are set to overtake tobacco sticks as the leading source of nicotine addiction, in a pushback against the medical fraternity and its warnings against the occult dangers of vaping (Time for a rational debate on vaping, by Mr Mohammed Saleem Mohammed Ibrahim; Feb 15).

It took decades for the medical establishment to convince governments and people that smoking is one of the most devastating habits to one's health.

It is probably true that the ills of vaping are lesser than that of smoking cigarettes.

Nevertheless, the glycols, nicotine and flavouring chemicals that are inhaled do cause increased incidences of oral diseases and lung inflammation, even though diabetes, asthma or even hypertension in heavy smokers improve when they convert to vaping from smoking.

Do we need to study the habit for a few decades just to simply produce concrete evidence that chronic vaping causes irreparable harm, when there are so many precedents that show addiction and chronic abuse are almost always detrimental to health?

It is ironic that while we are adopting stern measures against noxious environmental pollution from forest fires and car emissions, even as these substances are not placed in a pipe and breathed directly into our lungs, there are proponents for vaping arguing the case for noxious substances to be inhaled straight into the lungs through a direct conduit.

Yik Keng Yeong (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 21, 2018, with the headline 'Don't make a case for vaping'. Print Edition | Subscribe