South America

Electronic cigarettes have alarming risks, expert warns

Like conventional cigarettes, the electronic version negatively affects the body and causes addition

Brasilia, Brazil | Felipe Lemos, with collaboration from Mauren Fernandes

Both conventional and electronic cigarettes are devices for administering nicotine, which causes one of the largest known chemical dependencies. The electronic cigarette was initially to have an advantage over the conventional one. But is this a reality?

The South American Adventist News Agency sat down with pulmonologist Sergio Henrique Santos, a specialist for the Brazilian Society of Pulmonology and Tisilogy. Santos, a Seventh-day Adventist, also serves as a university lecturer and believes in the importance of the Adventist health message for a full life.

How does the conventional cigarette work?
In conventional cigarettes there is a burning of all products that, as a result of combustion, are inhaled and highly toxic. The high temperature interferes with the functioning of the lungs, causing diseases such as cancer, emphysema and many others.

And how does electronic work? 
Electronic cigarettes would do something like nicotine nebulization with some other compounds. Most electronic cigarettes use propylene glycol (dry ice) for nicotine delivery, while heated cigarettes use glycerol. The aerosol of these devices is what releases fine (low molecular weight) particles that pose a risk of respiratory and vascular damage.

Are electronic cigarettes less harmful than conventional?
Many assume so. They were originally made for highly addicted people who wanted to quit the smoking gradually. However, the risks should not be ignored because they do cause and maintain nicotine dependence.

Despite the decrease in the number of smokers in recent years, is there still alarming data?
Yes. In the United States alone, as of November 2019, more than 2,100 cases of young people who developed respiratory conditions were registered and 42 deaths were confirmed by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Regarding the use of electronic cigarettes, there is already data on the short-term effects they cause, such as decreased lung function, stroke, increased risk of angina crisis, and damage to the immune system. There are also reports of higher incidence of seizures among adolescent users.

Do you think anti-smoking initiatives are still needed?
Yes. Our responsibility as Christians is to understand, live, and proclaim that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we should focus on complete quality of life, as well as passing it on to those without this knowledge. The Adventist Church, for example, has major initiatives in this regard.


This article was originally published on the South American Division’s Portuguese news site