United Arab Emirates
Doctors have backed a ban on e-cigarettes, saying it was still not proven that the devices were a safe alternative to smoking tobacco. But some former smokers say e-cigarettes have been useful in helping them kick the tobacco habit.
E-cigarettes are banned by the country’s ministry of health because scientific evidence has not conclusively shown they are a safe alternative to smoking. In spite of this fact, they remain on sale in parts of the emirates. The use of e-cigarettes was one of the topics under discussion at the 16th World Conference on Tobacco or Health.
Dr Abdul Razzak Al Kaddour, a consultant physician in cardiology at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, urged caution in using e-cigarettes. He said: “They are a nicotine-delivery system. It has nicotine, so that’s the number one reason why they are so addictive.” He said e-cigarettes deliver the nicotine into the lungs by a mix of e-liquids made up of glycerol and glycol. He also said he had heard of cases of young people becoming addicted to nicotine through e-cigarettes. He said there were safer ways of quitting tobacco, such as nicotine-replacement gum and patches.
“We reduce the dose over time. But with e-cigarettes we don’t know the dosage, so we don’t know the concentration and we don’t know what the vaporizer system is doing to the lungs.”
However, some people, like Nadine Ahmad, 28, a New Zealander who lives in Abu Dhabi, say they had managed to quit tobacco through e-cigarettes. Nadine had smoked for nine years, before quitting for a couple of years. But when she moved to the UAE she began again. Then, during a stay in Canada, she quit by using e-cigarettes.
“I completely stopped smoking once I converted to e-cigarettes,” she said. “It was, for me, the perfect method to quit. After I bought the e-cigarettes I couldn’t stand the taste or smell of cigarette smoke. I haven’t touched a real cigarette in over a year and eight months. Now I can never imagine myself smoking ever again.”