Mon, May 02, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Foundation warns over e-cigarettes

FINAL LOTTERY:The John Tung Foundation this month is holding a competition for long-term smokers to encourage them to quit, with a cash prize of NT$300,000

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

A health foundation yesterday said that there is no clear evidence that smoking electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) can help people quit smoking, but might even extend the time that smokers take to quit.

The John Tung Foundation, a non-governmental organization that promotes anti-smoking campaigns, is hosting a quit smoking competition running from today to May 29 that challenges long-term smokers to stop smoking all tobacco products. Only contestants that succeed in the challenge have a chance to win a cash prize of up to NT$300,000 in the final lottery.

The foundation said that smoking cigarettes, cigars, hookahs, pipes or e-cigarettes, or using chewing tobacco or snuff, are prohibited during the competition.

Foundation chief executive officer Yao Shi-yuan (姚思遠) said although e-cigarettes are not like traditional cigarettes that contain up to 93 types of carcinogens, they pose many other health risks.

A 14-year-old American was blinded in one eye and faces potentially permanent damage to his hand after an e-cigarette he was holding exploded, Yao said, adding that many cases of e-cigarette explosions and several cases of e-cigarette liquid poisoning have been reported in the past few years.

Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital’s tobacco cessation clinic director Hsueh Kuang-chieh (薛光傑) said e-cigarette liquid often contains nicotine, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, propylene glycol, diacetyl, polybrominated diphenyl ethers and other chemical fragrances — some of which are carcinogenic.

While it might take a few years before all negative health effects of smoking e-cigarettes are confirmed, people can still be addicted to e-cigarettes and using them might be harmful, Hsueh said, adding that studies have proved e-cigarettes can help smokers quit smoking, but might delay attempts.

Hsueh suggested smokers who are seeking safe and effective ways to quit smoking should go to specialized tobacco cessation clinics at various hospitals for medical advice.

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