E-cigarette ban sought: Decades of education against smoking at risk
A prominent professor at King Saud University (KSU) has called for a ban on the sale of e-cigarettes, especially to those under the age of 18.
Sultan Ayoub Meo, a professor at the KSU’s College of Medicine, told Arab News on Friday that e-cigarette smoking should be regulated in the same way as traditional cigarettes. “Retail outlets, including pharmacies, must not be allowed to sell it to children and adolescents,” he said.
E-cigarettes, which generate a vapor containing nicotine as a tobacco substitute, were initially released as a device to help smokers quit, but Meo fears “the huge rise in users could normalize smoking, and undo decades of anti-smoking education and campaigning.”
He pointed out that a number of countries have already banned e-smoking, and some nations have restricted their sales.
France is preparing to place e-cigarettes on the same legal footing as tobacco smoking and moving toward its prohibition. Some American states, including New York, have already stopped use of e-cigarettes in public places. Australia, Canada, Mexico, Russia, Brazil, Lebanon, the UAE, Israel, Norway, Panama, Hong Kong, Thailand and Singapore have banned e-smoking.
Referring to the harmful effects of e-cigarettes, the KSU professor pointed out that electronic cigarettes are not a “smoking cessation” product. “Unscientific and fake claims about e-cigarettes are creating confusion among people about e-cigarettes,” said Meo, adding that e-cigarettes are a nicotine delivery device, whose users are commonly called “e-smokers” or “vapors.”
He said e-cigarettes are currently gaining popularity among high-income, urban population. The main components of e-cigarettes consist of an aerosol generator, flow sensor, battery and a solution (e-liquid) storage compartment, he explained. E-cigarettes can be smokeless, the smell fades quickly, and are easy to carry and conceal, he said.