Kids should be told to avoid e-cigarettes: Global body - GulfToday

Kids should be told to avoid e-cigarettes: Global body


Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

An organisation with origins back to 1867 in Paris, France and the 19th century Tuberculosis Plague (one death in seven), released on Sunday 10 reasons for governments to continually pursue master plans to discourage children in getting attracted to electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes/vapes) and other heated tobacco products (HTPs).

The 10 “arguments” of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) were specifically directed at poor and developing nations, also labelled as low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs).

These were encapsulated in the 12-page “Where Bans Are Best--Why LMICs Must Prohibit E-Cigarette and HTP Sales To Truly Tackle Tobacco,” furnished to Gulf Today on Sunday (May 31), “World No Tobacco Day.”

For 2020 and since first celebrated in 1987 by all member-states of the United Nations through the World Health Organisation, the special day theme was “Preventing Youth From Industry Manipulation and Preventing Them From Tobacco Use and Nicotine Use.”

The Union executive director Jose Luis Castro in his “World No Tobacco Day” message said the youth must be well-protected from all the promotional and advertising tricks by all tobacco industry players which have gone into producing desirable and flavourful e-cigarettes/vapes and HTPs.

Castro cautioned that if the youth were neglected to give up on these, the cycles of the preventable vice and consequent non-communicable diseases NCDs would remain. This further slumps healthcare systems of all LMICs and high-income countries (HICs).

He apprised that addiction to tobacco and other nicotine products lead to respiratory system infectious diseases such as tuberculosis. He associated it with the SARS-CoV2-COVID19 contagion that also attacks and supresses the respiratory system.

Castro said: “On this ‘World No Tobacco Day, we find ourselves in an unprecedented time, in the midst of the COVID19 pandemic. Though much remains to be determined about this disease, we know that it attacks the respiratory system and that people with (NCDs) are more likely to experience serious illness or death. Smokers may have worse outcomes--hospital admission, need for mechanical ventilation, and death--than non-smokers.”

“And because smoking is one of the leading causes of NCDs and seriously inhibits over-all immune health, there has never been a more urgent time to stop smoking,” he also stated.

Castro called on society to become more vigilant since tobacco/vapes/HTPs manufaturers, even during this “respiratory pandemic” have not ebbed in producing these; with the novel derivatives being claimed as “safer” and therefore okay to enjoy.

He quoted recent international data demonstrating that 38 million youth between the ages of 13 and 15 “already use tobacco.”

Meanwhile, two country-wide studies presented at the October 2017 “International Society of Addiction Medicine Conference” in Abu Dhabi had shown the prevalence of tobacco and nicotine use among the multi-racial youth in the UAE.

In the UAE University-Institute of Public Health study with 1,187 12 to 18-year-old Arab pupils (610 Emiratis), one-fifth of the boys were already indulging in sisha, 21.9 per cent were already smoking cigarettes, and 8.5 per per cent of the ages 12 to 14 “have been hooked to smoking.” Lead author was associate professor Dr. Syed Shah.  In the Zayed University-College of Natural and Health Sciences study by assistant professor Dr. Heba Barazi among 552 respondents, it concluded that girls had their first taste of tobacco products at nine years old.

Shah and Barazi noted that children smokers ought to be encouraged to abandon this unhealthy desire.

The Union 2020 document carried a bar graph on how common e-cigarettes have been enjoyed by the youth in “selected LMICs since 2014: Papua New Guinea (20 per cent), Ukraine (18 per cent), Marshall Islands (17 per cent), Yemen (15 per cent), Georgia (13 per cent), Fiji (12 per cent), Jamaica (12 per cent), Iraq (11 per cent), Saint Lucia (11 per cent), Mauritius (11 per cent), Bulgaria (11 per cent), Ecuador (11 per cent).

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