by Charina Clarisse Echaluce
The public was warned yesterday of the dire health risks of using e-cigarettes and vaping products to avoid putting their health at risk.
Emer Rojas, president of the anti-smoking group New Vois Association of the Philippines (NVAP), who started smoking at 17 and stopped after he was diagnosed with cancer due to smoking, said the tobacco industry is currently “glamorizing” e-cigarettes to make them appealing to the youth.
The youth, Rojas pouinted out, will become the replacement smokers of adults who either had fallen sick or had died of smoking-related illnesses.
GLAMORIZED SMOKING AND REPLACEMENT SMOKERS
“Glamorizing smoking whether the traditional tobacco or e-cigarettes has always been the kind of marketing strategy that the tobacco industry is guilty of. We’ve seen this so many times in the past and we’re seeing this again as the industry vigorously promote e-cigarettes to maintain their billions in profit,” he stressed.
Rojas cited the estimate of World Lung Foundation’s Tobacco Atlas that there are more than 7,700 e-cigarettes flavors available as of 2014 and that more than 200 flavors are being introduced to the market every month.
DIRE HEALTH RISKS
What people do not know, Rojas said, is that there are also many harmful chemicals in e-cigarettes, including aluminum which causes chemical pneumonia and slowed growth and deformed bones of children; cadmium which can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea; silver which can cause permanent blue-gray staining of the eyes, nose, mouth, throat, and skin; lead which can result to nerve damage and low IQ; and diacetyl which causes shortness of breath.
DITCH THE BANDWAGON
With this, Rojas challenged the young people to research and gather as much information as they can about vaping products and e-cigarette before jumping into the bandwagon.
In 2002, Rojas had to have his vocal cords removed after he contracted stage 4 laryngeal cancer due to tobacco use.
LEARNING FROM A SMOKER’S MISTAKE
“Back then I was mainly driven by peer pressure as most of my friends were smoking. In my day, smoking was being promoted as a hype among young people because it provides you a false sense of belonging of sort,” Rojas recalled.
“Do not commit the same mistakes that I did. I lost my voice to an addiction that I thought was a harmless thing to do back in the day. When my smoking resulted to cancer I thought that was the end of me. You don’t’ have to go through the same thing,” he stressed.
Rojas said the NVAP supports the Department of Health’s plan to regulate the use of e-cigarettes and vaping products to protect young people from the “new trend of nicotine addiction.”