Health experts debunk myths on…

“The available data on the use of e-cigarets as a means to quit cigaret smoking has been inconclusive, with some data showing some degree of improvement in quit rates, while other studies showed no benefit,” said Dr Puah.

“In one study, although there was an improvement in quit rates, there was prolonged usage of e-cigarets and there is still no long-term data on the effects of regular inhalation of vaporised fumes through an ENDS device,” he said.

WHY IS VAPING SEEN AS LESS HARMFUL, THOUGH ALSO DANGEROUS?

For one, users tend to consider vaping as less addictive than regular smoking. It doesn't help that the e-liquid or vape juice that's vaporised by the e-cigaret comes in candy-like flavours. “The aerosol inhaled from e-cigarets may have nice smells and flavours. It might be perceived in the same vein as sweets or breath fresheners,” said Chew.

Moreover, you don’t have to burn anything to vape, unlike smoking cigarets, she added. And since there is no burning involved, which people tend to associate with the creation of cancer-causing carcinogens, vaping is “regarded as less harmful”. “Without having to light up, it's convenient to vape undetected anywhere,” she said.

But no matter how you smoke it, these devices still produce nicotine, said Leslie Chua, a senior pharmacist with TTSH. “Nicotine is a known addictive chemical and has been found to lower the threshold for addiction and a gateway drug to marijuana and cocaine. It's also been shown to affect brain development.”

The same misconception could also come from being told that the nicotine used is “extracted and purified from raw tobacco, hence their perception that there are fewer toxic chemicals compared to cigarets”, said Dr Chan.

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