E-cigarettes as addictive as heroin, cocaine: Nagpur pulmonologist Dr Sameer Arbat

Dr Sameer Arbat | Sep 14, 2019 11:22

Dr Sameer Arbat

Dr Sameer Arbat currently working at KRIMS Hospital is an MD FCCP, young Interventional Pulmonologist from Nagpur, who’s the first doctor to have Central India’s only EBUS and Cryotherapy setup. He has many national and international awards and publications to his name and has performed more than 500 interventional procedures.

The Oxford English Dictionary  selected ‘vape’ (commonly known as smoking) as its word of the year in 2014. The dictionary defines vape ‘to inhale and exhale the vapour produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device.’ Electronic cigarettes, also known as E-Cigarettes or Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), are battery-operated devices that people use to inhale an aerosol, which typically contains nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals.

They can resemble traditional tobacco cigarettes, cigars, or pipes, or even everyday items like pens or USB memory sticks. Other devices, such as those with fillable tanks, may look different. In many e-cigarettes, puffing activates the battery-powered heating device, which vaporises the liquid in the cartridge. The person then inhales the resulting aerosol or vapor (called vaping).

Some common nicknames for e-cigarettes are

  1. E-Cigs
  2. E-Hookahs
  3. Hookah Pens
  4. Vapes
  5. Vape Pens
Types of e-cigarettes

 How do e-cigarettes work?

Most e-cigarettes consist of four different components that include:

  1. A cartridge or reservoir, which holds a liquid solution (e-liquidor e-juice) containing varying amounts of nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals
  2. A heating element (atomizer)
  3. A power source (usually a battery)
  4. A mouthpiece that the person uses to inhale

In many e-cigarettes, puffing activates the battery-powered heating device, which vaporises the liquid in the cartridge. The person then inhales the resulting aerosol or vapor.

How common is vaping amongst teens?

The habit of vaping is fast catching up amongst the youngsters in Nagpur city. E-cigarettes are now becoming very popular in India among non-smokers and cigarette smokers. Many people are misguided to believe that vaping is a healthy alternative to smoking. E-cigarettes are popular among teens and are now the most commonly used form of tobacco among youth in the United States. Their easy availability, alluring advertisements, various e-liquid flavors, and the belief that they’re safer than cigarettes have helped make them appealing to this age group.

Why is vaping the beginning to cigarette smoking?

Early evidence suggests that the use of e-cigarette may serve as an introductory product for preteens and teens who then go on to use other tobacco products, including cigarettes, which are known to cause disease and premature death. A study from USA suggests that teens using e-cigarettes are at a greater risk for smoking cigarettes in the future. Another study suggests that e-cigarettes may actually encourage cigarette smoking in adolescents.

Is it true that vaping helps quit cigarette smoking?

Most advertisements show vaping as a healthy alternative to smoking. In a study of more than 800 people who said they were using e-cigarettes to help them quit traditional cigarette smoking, only nine percent reported having quit when asked a year later. Some people believe e-cigarettes may help lower nicotine cravings in those who are trying to quit smoking. However, e-cigarettes are not an FDA-approved quit aid, and there is no conclusive scientific evidence on the effectiveness of e-cigarettes for long-term smoking cessation. More research is still needed to understand if experimenting with e-cigarettes can actually help in quitting cigarette smoking.

Why is vaping so addictive?

Both e-cigarettes and regular cigarettes contain nicotine, which may be as addictive as heroin and cocaine. When a person is exposed to nicotine, the individual experiences a ‘kick.’ This is partly caused by nicotine stimulating the adrenal glands, which results in the release of adrenaline. This surge of adrenaline stimulates the body. There is an immediate release of glucose, as well as an increase in heart rate, breathing activity, and blood pressure. Indirectly, nicotine causes the release of dopamine in the pleasure and motivation areas of the brain. A similar effect occurs when people take heroin or cocaine. The drug user experiences a pleasurable sensation. Nicotine in any form is a highly addictive drug. It causes you to crave a smoke and suffer withdrawal symptoms if you ignore the craving.

How many people have got sick and died due to e-cigarettes?

Vaping has been recently in news due to six deaths this year in the United States due to lung disease related to vaping. As of now, there have been more than 450 possible cases of lung illness associated with using e-cigarettes reported to the CDC across USA. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is in the process of drafting new regulations to remove flavored e-cigarettes from the market, and the US Government plans to bar the sale of e-cigarettes in the United States following six deaths linked to vaping.

Harmful effects of E-Cigarettes and Vaping to be discussed in the next column. The ideas and information expressed are solely by the columnist and not by Nation Next.