Due to their increasing popularity and the lack of long-term studies over the effects they might pose on human health, electronic cigarettes are going under the radar in so many countries around the globe. While some governments wait for a definitive response from scientist and regulators before making the move on the billion-dollar market, others simply want these devices banned because they fear that their negative effects might just overwhelm the positive ones.
There is no doubt that ecigs represent a far safer alternative to getting the much craved nicotine fix than their tobacco counterparts but at the same time, some people argue that they can represent a gateway to real smoking for teenagers and they tend to glamorize a socially unaccepted trend. Such is the recent case of Saudi Arabia where some voices want to see these devices regulated the same way as combustible cigarettes.
A well-known professor at King Saud University (KSU) has recently held a speech demanding for a decisive ban on the sale of electronic cigarettes, especially to those under the age of 18. Esteemed Sultan Ayoub Meo, said in a recent interview to Arab News that ecig vaping should be regulated in the same way as tobacco cigarettes. ‘Retail outlets, including pharmacies, must not be allowed to sell it to children and adolescents,’ he said.
Electronic cigarettes, which vaporize a nicotine based solution made of four ingredients, were initially welcomed as another accessory to help smokers quit, but Meo is worried that ‘the huge rise in users could normalize smoking, and undo decades of anti-smoking education and campaigning.’
He talked about the number of countries that have banned vaping until now, and about the nations that have restricted their sales. France is getting ready to place all vaping devices on the same regulations as tobacco smoking and moving toward their ban. Some American states, including New York, have already prohibited the use of electronic cigarettes in public places. Australia, Mexico, Russia, Brazil, Lebanon, the UAE, Israel, Norway, Panama, Hong Kong, Thailand and Singapore have all banned ecig puffing.
Talking about the hazardous effects of electronic cigarettes, Sultan Ayoub Meo pointed out that these devices are not a yet recognized as a ‘smoking cessation’ product. ‘Unscientific and fake claims about e-cigarettes are creating confusion among people about e-cigarettes,’ he said, adding that ecigs are a nicotine delivery accessories, whose users are commonly referred to as ‘e-smokers’ or ‘vapers.’
He believes that electronic cigarettes are currently gaining more and more popularity among the high-income, urban population. The main components of these devices are a battery, an atomizer that vaporizes a nicotine based solution and the cartridge or tank he explained. Ecigs can be smokeless, the smell fades quickly, and are easy to carry and hide, he added.