22 Nov, 2023 @ 17:27
2 mins read

How vaping ‘is just as damaging as smoking’: Scientists in Spain warn using e-cigarettes is like puffing on an aerosol

A NEW study has shown the effects of vaping could be just as harmful as traditional cigarettes. 

According to an investigation by the University of Lodz, in Poland, vaping could cause similar harm to traditional cigarettes, even if they contain no nicotine. 

It comes as Spanish scientists such as Marcos Garcia Rueda, director of Andalucia’s Integrated Plan Against Tobacco (PITA), warned this week that users of vapes are not inhaling ‘vapour’ but an ‘aerosol’. 

Vaping could be just as harmful as cigarettes. Photo: Romain B/Unsplash

The high quantities of heated chemicals alongside metal nanoparticles are inhaled and reach the lungs, lymph nodes and other organs with negative effects. 

Scientists in Poland found that vaping affects cells which protect the respiratory system from bacterial infections like bronchitis. 

When these cells are damaged, the body loses its first line of defense against many respiratory illnesses. 

The study also found that blood vessel cells are also affected by vaping, increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease. 

Garcia Rueda, told Diario Sur: “We don’t yet know the damage [vaping] can do. What is clear is that they are not harmless, and that their effect is no different on human cells, whether they have nicotine or not.”

Some 250 out 700 ingredients in traditional cigarettes are toxic and could cause cancer, according to the World Health Organisation. 

In comparison, vapes contain at least 22 toxic substances including formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acetone, acrolein, benzene, toluene, and nitrosamine. 

Currently, it is impossible to identify all the potential toxic substances in the devices, as companies are not obligated to reveal the materials and chemicals used in their products. 

Spain follows ‘antiquated’ EU legislation when it comes to vape products which only affects the size and nicotine dosage of vape products.

Under EU law, the maximum nicotine a vape can hold is 40 mg, equivalent to 40 cigarettes. 

Meanwhile, a liquid vape refill can contain up to 200 mg of nicotine, equivalent to 10 packets of cigarettes. 

Often criticised for their bright colours and variety of flavours, vaping has increased dramatically amongst Spain’s younger generation. 

Vaping companies have been criticised for their marketing. Photo: EcigarettesUK/Unsplash

The ‘Survey on the use of drugs in Spanish secondary schools’ found that more than half (54.6%) of students aged 14-18 had used an electronic cigarette in the past year. 

Published last week, the figures reveal an over 10% rise since 2021, when only 44.3% of teens had used the products. 

For the first time, girls outnumber boys, accounting for 56.8% of Spain’s vape users between 14-18. 

Half of electronic cigarettes used by Spanish teens did not contain nicotine. 

However, 27% said they have smoked a traditional cigarette in the past year, falling to 21% in the past month. 

The study in Poland was entitled ‘The Tobacco Smoke Component, Acrolein, as a Major Culprit in Lung Diseases and Respiratory Cancers: Molecular Mechanisms of Acrolein Cytotoxic Activity’.


Yzabelle Bostyn

After spending much of her childhood in Andalucia and adulthood between Barcelona and Latin America, Yzabelle has settled in the Costa del Sol to put her NCTJ & Journalism Masters to good use. She is particularly interested in travel, vegan food and has been leading the Olive Press Nolotil campaign. Have a story? email yzabelle@theolivepress.es

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