E-cigarettes are no safer than smoking tobacco Image Credit: Sharmila Dhal/XPRESS

DUBAI Puffing on e-cigarettes can cause more harm than traditional smoking, a seminar on anti-smoking held in Dubai this week has warned.

“E-cigarettes initially were introduced as a way to reduce and eventually quit smoking, but unfortunately they are now used as a tool to promote smoking,” said Mohammad Al Houqani, assistant dean for education and academic affairs and assistant professor and consultant at UAE University.

He was speaking at the seminar organised by the Anti-Smoking International Alliance (ASIA), a UK-based non-profit organisation, at the Dubai World Trade Centre on April 18, where findings of studies on chemical reactions in e-cigarettes were presented.

Chilling evidence

The seminar provided evid-ence of how these reactions are more complex than in normal cigarettes because e-cigarettes contain more than 45 poisonous chemical components in addition to nicotine. There are also multiple heavy metals that come out of the battery that powers the cigarettes.

Dr Wedad Al Maidoor, family medicine consultant at the Ministry of Health, said ASIA was a welcome initiative to help raise awareness about the hazards of tobacco use. “We are doing well,” she told XPRESS in response to a query about how the UAE Government’s efforts to check tobacco use were progressing. “We need to be patient. It takes five to 10 years to see the concrete results in any such effort, whether it is tobacco control of promotion of a healthy diet.”

She said monitoring of tobacco use should continue as must efforts to check people’s exposure to tobacco, right from banning direct and indirect advertising to creating smoke-free zones in public places.

The seminar also stressed the dangers of second-hand smoking with statistics proving the toxic impact of flames on passive smokers.