Man Dies As E-Cigarette Explodes – Is Vaping a ‘Safe’ Alternative?
There’s plenty of smoke around the e-cigarette debate and few hard facts.
There’s plenty of smoke around the e-cigarette debate and few hard facts.(Photo: iStock)

Man Dies As E-Cigarette Explodes – Is Vaping a ‘Safe’ Alternative?

Kids, don’t vape. If you needed one more reason to stop vaping - read what follows. In a tragic turn of events, a man in United States died of a massive stroke after the e-cigarette he was using exploded in his face, reports CNN. It tore his carotid artery as the explosion sent shards of metal into his face, neck and throat.

E-cigarettes or vape pens, as they’re popularly known, are metal sticks loaded with a battery, metal coil, and chemicals like nicotine, propylene glycol, and glycerine. The battery-operated machine heats a liquid to create a vapor that can be inhaled like regular cigarette smoke.

So if you’re choosing to put this machine in your mouth, know that machines malfunction, apart from the harm that chemicals can cause.

Also Read : The Truth About E-Cigarettes

E-cigarettes were often originally advertised as a cessation aid for smokers.
E-cigarettes were often originally advertised as a cessation aid for smokers.
(Photo: iStockphoto)

The death certificate says that the 24-year-old Texas man died from cerebral infarction and herniation after metal pieces from the explosion dissected his artery. The case is not the first of its kind and similar incidents have occurred in the past. The CNN report states that there were 195 e-cigarette fire and explosion incidents in US reported between 2009 and 2016.

Is Vaping Any Better Than Smoking?

Studies and experts remain sceptical. Over the years, as is with all medical studies where different stakeholders are involved, there have been many opinions on how harmful e-cigarettes are and if they’re a helpful tool to quit smoking.

They were first developed and marketed in the early 2000s as a “safe way” to stop smoking tobacco, but the patent for the device had been filed way back in 1963 when smoking was not widely seen as a major health risk.

However, even in 2008 the World Health Organization slammed the marketing of e-cigarettes as a safe alternative to smoking and stated that there’s no evidence behind its safety and efficacy. Following that, a study funded by a e-cigarettes manufacturer was released which declared it to be 100 to 1,000 times less dangerous than smoking tobacco.

Also Read : E-Cigarettes No Safer Alternative Than Traditional Smoking: Study

Are e-cigarettes any better than regular cigarettes? Is vaping a safer alternative to smoking?
Are e-cigarettes any better than regular cigarettes? Is vaping a safer alternative to smoking?
(Photo: iStock)

This cycle of proving and disproving of vaping continues. Recent studies have strictly warned that it’s not a safer alternative, while some keep at the narrative that it’s “better” than smoking.

What the latter fails to contextualise is that vaping may only be “better” than smoking. When not seen in comparison, it still does lead to considerable exposure to toxicants.

Also Read : ‘Common E-Cigarette Chemical Flavourings May Impair Lung Function’

The Vaping Culture in India

Vaping may have been promoted as a way to quit smoking but the culture in countries like US is leading teens who’ve never smoked to take it up as the cool new (and acceptable) thing in town. Thus, providing them an easy entry to the world of smoking.

Preteens and teens are vaping, exposing them to high levels of dangerous chemicals. Because nicotine, at the end of the day, is toxic, no matter how it’s ingested.
Image is for representational purposes only.
Image is for representational purposes only.
(Photo: iStock)

But the cool kids of India don’t want to be left behind. India’s tiny but rapidly growing vaping scene has over 260,000 vapers, according to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2017. And it’s only increasing by the day.

Some states in India, including Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Punjab, Maharashtra and Kerala, have prohibited sale of e-cigarettes, while tobacco cigarettes remain legal.

According to media reports, the Union Health Ministry in 2017 ruled out acceptability of e-cigarettes in the light of research findings by experts who concluded that they have cancer-causing properties, are highly addictive, and do not offer a safer alternative to tobacco-based smoking products.

Health experts, however, are not happy with this dichotomy. They’re of the view that the government is allowing the sales of lethal nicotine-containing products such as tobacco cigarettes, while banning a substantially less harmful alternative.

While lobbyists from the tobacco industry ensure that cigarettes thrive in the country, is it reason enough to let another vice rise to become a “teen epidemic”? Or instead of banning there should be proper messaging that vaping is in no way a safer alternative to smoking, and therefore appropriate limits be placed on manufacturers and advertisers?

Also Read : Alert: Just 10 Puffs Of an E-Cigarette As Deadly As a Regular Fag

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