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E-cigarettes can be a health hazard


Two out of five boys in upper-secondary school have tried e-cigarettes, whose sweet taste and vapors can have a negative effect on health. They can also be a gateway to smoking regular tobacco cigarettes. That is indicated by a new report on the use, attitudes and potential health effects of e-cigarettes.

Since electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) appeared on the market at the turn of the century, their popularity has steadily increased, especially among young people.

Portrait Louise Adermark
Associate Professor Louise Adermark
Photo: Svante Adermark

By commission of the County Administrative Board of Västra Götaland, Louise Adermark, an associate professor of neurobiology at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, and assistant researcher Klara Danielsson have carried out a knowledge compilation of scientific studies that evaluated the safety and health effects of e-cigarettes.

“Even if the levels of toxins that have previously been associated with conventional tobacco cigarettes are reduced, e-cigarette use can pose other risks,” says Louise Adermark.

“Above all, it’s the sweet flavorings of e-cigarettes that can affect oral health and lungs in a negative way. This is something that also applies to flavorings without nicotine.”

The report also shows that young people who use e-cigarettes begin smoking conventional tobacco cigarettes to a greater extent. At the same time, several studies indicate that e-cigarettes are not an effective way to quit smoking.

The researchers conclude that there is a need for clearer regulation of flavoring ingredients.

“It’s important for manufacturers and importers of electronic cigarettes to inform users about the potential health risks of flavoring components,” says Ulrika Ankargren, county coordinator for alcohol and drug prevention efforts at the Västra Götaland County Administrative Board.

Title (report in Swedish): Elektroniska cigaretter – En kunskapssammanställning om användning, attityder, och potentiella hälsoeffekter

Contacts: Louise Adermark and Ulrika Ankargren

Illlustrations: E-cigarette (photo: Mostphotos) and portait image of Louise Adermark (photo: Svante Adermark).