Health and Fitness

Why It Could Be a Bad Idea to Ban Vaping

Hide your vapes, everybody.
IMAGE WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/UNSPLASH
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Hide your vapes, everybody. Yesterday, November 19, the President ordered the immediate arrest of anyone seen vaping in public. “I am now ordering the law-enforcement agencies to arrest anybody vaping in public. That is like smoking,” said the President. “Because it is toxic, and government has the power to issue measures to protect public health and public interest.”

According to the Department of Health, there is one reported case of vape-related illness in the Visayas, which involved a 16-year-old girl who smoked cigarettes while also using vapes. There is an estimated 1 million vape users in the Philippines, compared with its 16 million smokers. So far, there are no deaths linked to the use of vaping products in the country. On the other hand, roughly 10 Filipinos die every hour due to illnesses stemming from the use of cigarettes, according to the Department of Health. 

Why vaping should not be banned

The Philippines has one of the highest smoking rates in Asia, with over 16 million children and adult smokers. In a 2015 study by the Global Youth Tobacco Survey, it was revealed that underage smoking among children aged 13 to 15 years old has increased.

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There is good news, however: In that study, as much as 76 percent of current smokers planned to quit smoking. The bad news is that only four percent of them are successful. Enter vaping.

Vapes were invented primarily for smokers who wanted to quit smoking by providing the same kick from nicotine without the harmful effects of inhaling tar. It not marketed as a healthy alternative to smoking, but as a useful alternative for smokers who want to reduce the health risks of smoking cigarettes. Vapes do not contain tobacco, do not give off noxious gases such as carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide, and do not produce the carcinogenic tar that is released when tobacco is burned.

JUUL, a popular brand of electronic nicotine delivery device, maintains that its product poses 95 percent less health risk than smoking, and strongly emphasizes that vapes are intended for cigarette smokers only. Some 99.6 percent of smokers who used JUUL have successfully quit or abstained from smoking.

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What makes vaping dangerous?

Vaping becomes dangerous when its juice or liquid is customized and laced with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive substance of marijuana. More than three-fourths of the 2,272 people who got sick due to vape use tested positive for THC, while another two-thirds tested positive for Vitamin E acetate, which is used to prolong the supply of THC oil.

Without the THC and Vitamin E acetate, vaping is a very successful alternative for 16 million Filipino smokers who want to quit smoking. 

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Mario Alvaro Limos
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