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To: Ms Lyn Moeng-Mahlangu , Health Department Chief Director for Non-Communicable Diseases

E-cigarettes are a health risk, help pass new anti-smoking laws

Regulate E-cigarettes the same way normal cigarettes are regulated. Pass the Tobacco Control Bill as it stands. Don't let the tobacco industries greed put more lives in danger.

Why is this important?

E-cigarettes put people at risk of lung and heart disease, and may cause cancer. The industry has used legal loopholes to get a new generation addicted. Just as cigarettes were once seen as trendy and cool, the industry has marketed vaping as healthier and cool, which is attracting young people and misleading adults to believe they are a healthy alternative to cigarettes.

Research just published shows e-cigarettes are unlikely to help you quit. Smokers who don’t use e-cigarettes are more than twice as likely to quit smoking than those who use e-cigarettes [1]

The health insurance industry including Discovery Life, BrightRock, Liberty, Standard Bank Insurance and brokerage Insurance Busters, have stated all customers who have life cover, and who declare that they use e-cigarettes, will be treated the same as cigarette smokers [2].

A WHO report (2016) recommended that e-cigarettes be banned in indoor areas or where smoking is prohibited. This is because of the potential for non-users to be exposed to chemicals and e-cigarette aerosol in indoor areas. This exposure has the potential to harm the health of non-users.

The use of e-cigarettes has been linked to an increase in heart rate and high blood pressure, and the nicotine in e-cigarettes can cause a stiffening of the arteries, all of which can cause increased risk to heart health, including increasing the risk of heart attacks. E-cigarette use has also been linked to certain lung diseases such as COPD and cystic fibrosis (UNC School of Medicine, 2017).

Researchers at the University of Connecticut found that e-cigarettes loaded with a nicotine-based liquid are potentially as harmful as unfiltered cigarettes when it comes to causing DNA damage (2017). The researchers also found that vapor from non-nicotine e-cigarettes caused as much DNA damage as filtered cigarettes, possibly due to the many chemical additives present in e-cigarette vapors. Cellular mutations caused by DNA damage can lead to cancer.

The US Surgeon General’s Report (2016) reported that nicotine exposure during adolescence can cause addiction and can harm the developing adolescent brain. It noted further that nicotine can cross the placenta and has known effects on fetal and postnatal development. Therefore, nicotine delivered by e-cigarettes during pregnancy can result in multiple adverse consequences, including sudden infant death syndrome.


[2] Vaping the Jury's out on its long-term use. Angelique Ruzicka. City Press 16 April 2017.

South Africa

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2019-05-01 18:19:52 +0200

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