Is vape the safe alternative to cigarettes?

by Justine Punzalan
Nov 23, 2019
President Rodrigo Duterte imposes a nationwide ban on vapes, saying that it is "toxic" and "deadly" in a press briefing at the Malacañang Palace on November 19, 2019.
PHOTO/S: ISTOCK

Marami sa smokers ang gumagamit na ngayon vapes o electronic cigarettes, thinking that it is the safer alternative to cigarettes.

Pero ayon sa health advisory ng Department of Health (DOH) noong November 15, 2019, puwede itong magdulot ng E-cigarette or Vape-Associated Lung Injury (EVALI) na maaring ikamatay ng isang tao.

Bunsod ito ng report na isang 16-year-old female from Visayas ay na-diagnose ng EVALI six months after nagsimulang gumamit ito ng vape, kasabay ng paninigarilyo.

Siya ay nakaranas ng "severe shortness of breath" at na-confine sa intensive care unit ng isang hospital.

Although na-discharge na ito, nabahala ang gobyerno sa panganib na puwede palang makuha sa e-cigarettes.

Dahil dito, napagdesisyunan ni President Rodrigo Duterte na tuluyan nang ipagbawal ang paggamit at pag-import ng vapes sa bansa.

Inanunsiyo niya ito sa presscon sa Malacañang Palace noong November 19, 2019.

Sabi niya, "I will ban it. I will ban it, the use and importation. You know why?

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"Because it is toxic, and the government has the power to issue measures to protect public health and public interest.

"You know, ang cigarette, the confirmed chemical there that is not good for humans, is deadly, is nicotine...

"Now itong vaping, sabi nila is electronic...

"Better stop it because I will order your arrest if you do it in a room.

"I am now ordering the law-enforcement agencies to arrest anybody vaping in public. That is like smoking."

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IS VAPE DANGEROUS?

Sa inilabas na bulletin ng DOH sa website nito, ipinaliwang ang health hazards ng vape.

"E-cigarette is made of plastic and metal device that heat a liquid nicotine solution (e-juice) in a disposable cartridge.

"It creates a tiny light on the tip even glows like a real cigarette and produces a vapor that stimulates the act of smoking...

"The e-cigarette is increasingly becoming popular among Filipinos, particularly the youth, as the number of public places that prohibit smoking is increasing and the recent higher tobacco taxes in the country make smoking more expensive."

At gaya ng sigarilyo, may masamang dulot rin ang vapes sa kalusugan, and it can cause severe lung injuries.

It contains nicotine, isang addictive ingredient na siya ring nasa tobacco.

Ayon sa American Heart Association (AHA):

1. Nicotine can cause an increase in blood pressure, heart rate, flow of blood to the heart and a narrowing of the arteries (vessels that carry blood).

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2. Nicotine may also contribute to the hardening of the arterial walls, which in turn, may lead to a heart attack.

Nakakalason rin ang nicotine kapag ito ay nalunok, na-inhale, at na-absorb ng tao through their skin or eyes.

Ayon pa rin sa AHA, ang e-cigarettes ay meron ding harmful substances gaya ng "diacetyl (a chemical linked to a serious lung disease), cancer-causing chemicals, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and heavy metals such as nickel, tin, and lead."

Hindi rin proven na nakakatulong ang e-cigarettes sa mga gustong mag-quit ng smoking, base sa data ng DOH, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), at World Heath Organization (WHO).

Naglabas ng advisory ang FDA noong April 10 na nagsasabing "electronic cigarette is not a proven nicotine replacement therapy and reiterated the WHO's statement that there is no scientific evidence to confirm the product’s safety and efficacy."

At tulad ng harmful effects ng sigarilyo, ang second-hand smoke mula sa e-cigarettes can also put the health of your loved ones at risk.

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WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU HAVE VAPE-ASSOCIATED LUNG INJURY?

Medical practitioners and health organizations worldwide are on a continuing study on how EVALI develops inside the body of a vape user.

Pero ang sabi ng pathologist na si Dr. Brandon Larsen sa website na sciencedaily.com, "It seems to be some kind of direct chemical injury, similar to what one might see with exposures to toxic chemical fumes, poisonous gases, and toxic agents."

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Mahirap rin daw ma-identify kung ang isang tao ay may EVALI, ayon sa pulmonologist na si Dr. Amy Ahasic sa website na newswise.com.

Kadalasan, ang pasyente ay nakakaramdam ng respiratory symptoms tulad ng pananakit ng dibdib, hirap sa paghinga, at pag-ubo.

Puwede rin siyang makaranas ng "fatigue, fever, unintentional weight loss as well as gastrointestinal symptoms of abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting."

For the complications, the list includes "lung inflammation, serious lung damage, and respiratory failure—which is a critical condition that can lead to death.”

Para ma-identify kung ang isang vape user ay affected ng EVALI, kakailanganin niyang kumuha ng ilang tests gaya ng chest x-ray, computed tomography (CT) scan, at brochoscopy that would require insertion of a thin tube sa nose or mouth para masuri ang kanyang airways at makakuha ng tissue samples.

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HOW TO AVOID VAPE-ASSOCIATED LUNG INJURY

Isa lang ang masasabi ng DOH dito: avoid using vapes at any cost.

Ito ay delikado sa kalusugan mo at ng mga taong nasa paligid mo.

"I urge non-users not to even try e-cigarettes at all,” sabi ni Health Undersecretary Rolando Enrique Domingo sa kanilang website.

"No e-cigarette product should be accessible to young children and adolescents, who are uniquely susceptible to the harms of e-cigarettes and nicotine."

Dagdag rin niya, "All e-cigarette users should seek immediate medical help, and ask their doctors for ways to quit these harmful products."

Kung may alam kang suspected EVALI cases sa lugar niyo, i-report ito sa e-mail address na ecigarettesurveillance@doh.gov.ph.

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President Rodrigo Duterte imposes a nationwide ban on vapes, saying that it is "toxic" and "deadly" in a press briefing at the Malacañang Palace on November 19, 2019.
PHOTO/S: ISTOCK
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