Soon, South Africa may have no choice but to join the fight in preventing the production, sale and use of e-cigarettes.
Once a popular trend among smokers, electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, were, at one point, the answer to a lot of social problems caused by combustible cancer sticks.
However, after India announced, on Wednesday, that it was hopping onto the bandwagon in banning e-cigarettes, it is clear now that the global death of vaping is imminent.
What are e-cigarettes and how different are they regular cigarettes?
An e-cigarette is a handheld, battery-powered vaporiser that simulates smoking. It contains nicotine and other chemical makeups of combustible cigarettes which enhance some of the behavioural aspects of smoking.
The commercialised benefit of this vaporised version of the cigarette is that smokers can drag their e-cigarettes without burning tobacco.
However, according to the Cancer Association of South Africa (Cansa), there is not enough research to prove that e-cigarettes are a safer option for smokers.
“They contain nicotine, so they’re addictive and may encourage novice users to later switch to combustible cigarettes. They’re particularly harmful and addictive to people under the age of 25, as their brains are still developing and nicotine can negatively affect development.” Cancer Association of South Africa
Why is the world turning its back on vaping?
Introduced in Europe for the first time in 2006, and later throughout the rest of the world, e-cigarettes were a commercial smash hit. However, this bout of excitement for the alternative to cancer sticks soon receded after health organisations and governments in different countries warned that there was no difference, in the degree of risk, between vaping and smoking combustible cigarettes.
Turkey was the first country, in the world, to strike an effective ban on e-cigarettes. According to the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association (Casaa), Kiyas Güngör, the Vice President of the Foundation Combating Smoking in Turkey, claimed that “nicotine is the most dangerous element among 4,800 poisonous chemicals in cigarettes.”
These sentiments were later shared by the world’s most reputed NPOs such as the World Health Organisation and Health New Zealand. Recently, New York became the first state in the United States to strike a ban on flavoured e-cigarettes. This, according to a recently published NBC report, was after “hundreds of people have reported vaping-related illnesses, which have been linked to seven deaths.”
“New York is not waiting for the federal government to act, and by banning flavoured e-cigarettes we are safeguarding the public health and helping prevent countless young people from forming costly, unhealthy and potentially deadly life-long habits,” New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo announced in a presser, on Tuesday.
Where in the world are e-cigarettes banned?
In South Africa, vaping is still a norm. The popularity of the e-cigarette has contributed, in some capacity, to the economy, as businesses that sell e-cigarettes, its components and other maintenance tools have sprung over the years.
However, with the world effectively turning its back on e-cigarettes, it is possible that South Africa will have no choice but to follow suit.
So, the next time you pack that suitcase, getting ready to trot the globe, be mindful of the fact that the following countries have banned vaping:
In the following countries, e-cigarettes are not entirely banned, but they are restricted:
This article originally appeared at The South African Website