The Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (Esma) has announced that it is reviewing studies to see if the ban on vape products should be lifted.
The current rate of smoking is 24.3% for men and 0.8% for women. Worse, 27 people die every week from smoking-related diseases. The case for harm reduction couldn’t be stronger – yet here’s what a collection of men with medical degrees think:
- Dr Hassan Razein, a specialist in respiratory medicine at Zulekha Hospital: “We are still unsure of the safety of e-cigarettes, and it will take some time before we can support their use. Some producers claim nicotine levels in their e-cigarette devices are substantially less than in cigarettes. Because of the toxicity, we cannot support their use or recommend them to help smokers to quit.”
- Iyaad Hasan from the Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi: “A lot of people pin their hopes on this kind of alternative to smoking because they take the place of a habit that’s embedded in people’s lives. Past research has demonstrated that the chemical content in them is still harmful. The fact of the matter is these substances were never meant to be in the human body in the first place.”
- Dr Mohamed Maki Shalal, head of ER at Canadian Specialist Hospital in Dubai gets out his crystal ball made of woo: “People think e-cigarettes are harmless but we know they are chemicals so there will be problems with them in future.”
- Dr Georgey Koshy, Chief Medical Officer and Head of Cardiology, Universal Hospital: "There is no real research conducted to prove the devices are safe alternatives to smoking regular cigarettes. There are many brands available out there, so there is no standardisation on e-cigarettes."
- Also Koshy: “Some researchers claim that e-cigarettes are up to 95 per cent safer than regular cigarettes, yet there are no proper studies to compare the two methods. Vaping also attracts fresh smokers who have never ever smoked cigarettes in their lives. Non-smokers believe e-cigarettes are safe and begin smoking vapes, but eventually move on to traditional cigarettes.”
- Dr Jairam Aithal, Consultant, Cardiovascular Disease, Burjeel Hospital: “A majority of smokers who have turned to vaping as an alternative, are unaware of the dangers E-cigarettes are just as harmful as regular cigarettes."
- Still Aithal: “There are carcinogenic ingredients including formaldehyde, which is a flammable chemical often used in building materials and household products, an anti-freeze substance, as well as diacetyl, which affects the lungs. This chemical causes deposits inside the lungs and eventually destroys the organ.”
It is clear from these comments that the fight for vaping was always going to be an uphill struggle in the UAE. ESMA have an opportunity to address the shameful toll that cigarette smoking is having on the nation and offer smokers a genuine alternative to tobacco-related harm.