Chief executive of the health charity ASH Scotland, Sheila Duffy, says she would never call vaping safe.
With vaping now banned in seven countries Sheila Duffy of ASH Scotland suggests that we don’t yet know enough about the possible risks of e-cigarettes, saying “the problem with vaping is that we don’t have a full picture.”
“You’re not talking about one device, you’re talking about four generations of devices, nearly 8,000 liquids and all kinds of different ways of using them.”
Despite lack of research Duffy says that e-cigarettes still seem to be “less-harmful” than cigarettes and admits “we know that vaping is not going to be safe and we don’t know the long-term health effects.”
“ASH Scotland’s view is that we know how dangerous tobacco and smoking is. Anything that helps someone get off of cigarettes is great.”
So far, eight people have died of vape related illness and despite there not being much research on the risks of these products, vaping is still growing in popularity. It is believed over forty million people now vape worldwide and sixty-nine vape and e-cigarette stores have opened in the UK this year alone.
A large number of e-cigarettes can be bought in store which Duffy says it’s vital to stop companies from marketing e-cigarettes to “children and young people”.
An independent study revealed that vaping was around 95% less damaging than smoking. However, those who begin to smoke tobacco may not experience illness or health implications for decades. Duffy worries that vaping and e-cigarettes could be “a ticking time bomb.”
“We don’t know the long-term health effects and with tobacco you don’t really start seeing the heart disease, cancer or COPD for one to three decades after someone starts smoking. That’s the real concern.”
Duffy says vaping became popular in 2007 and was invented by a Chinese man called Hon Lik because “he wanted to stop smoking.” It is estimated that 33% of adults now use e-cigarettes as a means to stop smoking.
With the recent coverage on vape-related illness and death in the US, states such as Michigan has banned the products deeming them unsafe. US chain supermarket Walmart now refuses to sell e-cigarette products in all of their stores.
Despite the recent controversy, many people still believe that vaping is safer than tobacco and should not be banned:
In terms of the UK’s stance, Duffy comments, “we weren’t sure that complete bans work; we haven’t called for a ban on tobacco even though it’s really harmful.”
Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) is a registered Scottish charity aiming for a healthier Scotland “free from the harms and inequalities linked to tobacco use.”
Sheila Duffy became the chief executive of ASH Scotland in 2008.
Listen to the interview with Sheila Duffy from ASH Scotland below:
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