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Misconceptions mask dangers of vaping among youth, say experts

By Rayya Al Muheisen - Jan 14,2023 - Last updated at Jan 14,2023

Experts refute the misconception that e-cigarettes are less harmful than regular cigarettes, and are calling on the authorities to launch awareness campaigns to educate teenagers about long-term health issues associated with smoking (JT file photo)

AMMAN — Experts refute the misconception that e-cigarettes are less harmful than regular cigarettes, and are calling on the authorities to launch awareness campaigns to educate teenagers about long-term health issues associated with smoking. 

Despite the health complications related to smoking e-cigarettes, consumption has dramatically increased around the world over the past few years, as younger generation are attracted to e-cigarettes due to the variety of flavours, colours and prices. 

Tobacco shop employee Hassan Ali told The Jordan Times that his shop offers over 300 favours of e-cigarettes. 

“Prices range from JD7 to JD30,” Ali added. 

According to Ali, the majority of his customers are younger people.

“Most of them vape and smoke, “ Ali said. 

“Customers believe that vaping and e-cigarettes have the potential to help smokers quit,” he added. 

However, medical research shows that e-cigarettes are also harmful, as some liquids used for vaping contain more nicotine than regular cigarettes, as reported by the Jordan News Agency, Petra. 

“E-cigarettes are more harmful than regular cigarettes because they contain chemicals that react with the substances and flavours in them,” Ali added. 

Mohammad Tarawneh, a pulmonary, respiratory and intensive care diseases specialist and respiratory infection expert, told The Jordan Times that Jordan has one of the highest number of smokers under the age of 18.

“Sadly, we are ranked as the sixth country globally in the number of underage smokers,” Tarawneh added. 

Tarawneh called on authorities to launch awareness and prevention campaigns targetting teenagers and younger consumers that educate them on the health issues related to smoking e-cigarettes. 

Abdel Rahman Shaher, former health director at the Ministry of Health, told The Jordan Times that e-cigarettes are still new, and scientists are still learning about their long-term health effects. 

“I refute the claim that e-cigarettes are contributing to falling smoking rates among adults and young people,” he said.

According to a Petra report, only 18 per cent of e-cigarettes smokers quit regular cigarettes. 

“The majority of smokers are smoking regular cigarettes along with e-cigarettes,” Shaher added. 

Khaled Alawneh, brain and spine catheterisation consultant, told Petra that smoking e-cigarettes is a popular practice, especially among younger consumers. 

“E-cigarettes are rich in addictive nicotine and carry multiple health risks, including the possibility of heart and lung problems,” Alawneh added. 

Alawneh added that adolescents’ exposure to the addictive devices is more harmful due to the “sensitivity” of the human brain during adolescence, noting that early exposure to nicotine can cause addiction, attention deficit disorders, a lack of concentration and mood disorders such as depression during this critical time of brain development.

 

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