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#HEALTHCHECK: Should Vaping Be The New Cool?

4 mins read Get in here young adults! This fact-check right here is for you!! If you don’t smoke and never had a problem with smoking cigarettes in the first place, don’t start the habit, irrespective of which form it is delivered in. Moreover, vaping causes mouth or throat irritation, nausea and coughing and because it is still a new trend, we do not even know the long term effects it can have on our bodies. So don’t do it!

4 mins read

There seems to be a deep fascination by teenagers and young adults with a substitute for nicotine cigarettes. This popular substitute, known as electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) and whose activity is called “vaping”, not “smoking” by the cool kids is marketed as a safer alternative to smoking.

In actual sense, vaping, refers to smoking of a hand-held battery-operated device known as an electronic cigarette. The electronic cigarette heats a liquid, usually containing nicotine, flavouring as well as other additives into an aerosol that the user then inhales.

The vaping devices which currently exist on the market include e-cigarettes, as well as vape pens, Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) and Advanced Personal Vaporizers (APV). Most of these vaping devices consist of a mouthpiece, a cartridge, a heating component and a battery. In particular, vape pens often resembles a large fountain pen or a USB flash drive.

According to the Center on Addiction, a science-based organisation under the U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, it is this very subtlety in the design that “makes it easy to hide, which helps explain why it has become so popular among middle and high school students (essentially junior and senior secondary schoolers in Nigeria)”.

If you haven’t seen it before, here’s what it looks like:

WHY ARE WE TELLING YOU ABOUT THIS?

Because  of a circulating Whatsapp message with an accompanying photo:

PARENTS OF TEENAGERS ALERT!!!
PLEASE READ THIS VERY IMPORTANT INFORMATION.

I was invited over to a Secondary School today for an intervention on something that was discovered with some of their students.
During my counselling session with some of them, i was duly informed that it is already  trending amoung teenagers (boys and girls from J.S.1)

Many parents are unaware that their children are “VAPING” sweet smelling tobacco,  cannabis and weed, using VAPE PENS to experiment new ways to consume drugs !!!!
….
VAPE PENS a.k.a VAPING…
It is an electronic smoking device that looks deceptively like a pen or flash drive!..it is rechargeable and comes with oils containing these hard drugs which have psychoactive effects such as anxiety and paranoia,  these oils have sweet smelling flavours like mint, strawberry, Jasmine, banana smoothie and pumpkin spice. The oils are also refillable and it is available in the supermarkets
….
That pen or flash drive in your home may be a VAPE PEN!!
Once again young people are a step ahead of the adults in their lives.

OUR VERDICT? THE POST IS TRUE!

We checked and found out that not only are vaping pens very popular in Nigeria and can be easily bought in the supermarket, they also pose a major health risk, especially in younger people.

In fact, when vaping was first introduced, it was meant for addicted smokers who were trying to wean off cigarettes. Nigeria’s  adult tobacco survey estimated that 4.5 million men and 500,000 women aged 15 and older in Nigeria smoke; equivalent to 5.6% of the population annually. Vaping has been deliberately and craftily promoted toward these 5 million individuals as a smoking cessation strategy. The original term of e-cigarette was coined as a specific marketing strategy for smokers, even though the National Center for Health Research has said that there is still no credible high-quality study to indicate that e-cigarettes can lessen one’s use of smoking cigarettes in the long run.

Moreover, it is important that we remember that tobacco smoking was also once considered acceptable and endorsed by the media, advertisers and also physicians. Interestingly, this went as far as the 1910 declaration stating that “there is no scientific evidence that the moderate use of tobacco by healthy mature men produces any beneficial or injurious physical effects that can be measured”. Fast-forward several years later and you would find more than a substantial number of rigorous scientific evidence that shows a direct causal link between smoking and different cancer sites as well as several other potentially fatal chronic degenerative diseases and equally non-fatal disability-causing disease.

Also, another study found that smokers who switch to vaping often then get addicted to vaping. Thence, the advice is that even if vaping is used, it should be a short-term smoking cessation method.

For young people the above advice doesn’t count. You shouldn’t even use it because studies have found linkages between smoking using vape pens and brain damage, addiction, and as a gateway to smoking cigarettes.

CONCLUSION: 

All of this long talk is to say that if you don’t smoke and never had a problem with smoking cigarettes in the first place, don’t start the habit, irrespective of which form it is delivered in. Moreover, vaping causes mouth or throat irritation, nausea and coughing and because it is still a new trend, we do not even know the long term effects it can have on our bodies. 

Zuwaira Hashim graduated with a first-class honours graduate in BMedSci in Health and Human Sciences at the University of Sheffield. What is more, she was awarded with the Kerry Ann Salt Memorial prize for her outstanding performance in the School of Nursing and Midwifery. Her successes in academia are matched by efforts in the field of public health. This is evidenced by yet another award- Global Engagement Award- from the Sheffield Council for her contributions to the Public Health Intelligence team of Sheffield. She is particularly interested in Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and its policy implementation in Nigeria, having witnessed firsthand the perils faced by the health sector. She currently uses this passion and experience in the field of public health to educate the public via health articles and fact-checks.

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